In a week, the Los Angeles Dodgers have gained 2.5 games in the NL West standings. Going 9-1 over a ten game stretch and 14-4 in the month of August can do that for you.
Two of the games that the Dodgers won over the weekend against the New York Mets were games that felt like one the Dodgers would have lost in the past. Both were one- run games, something the Dodgers have failed miserably at winning earlier in the season. But in both games the bullpen held on, and Kenley Jansen got the save on both, on back to back days. Definite improvement in a few aspects of the game.
The Dodgers are now enjoying an off day before they head down the coast to San Diego to start a three game series with the Padres. Things are different than the last time these two teams played. The Padres, mostly due to injuries, have gone on a huge skid and now find themselves third in the wild card standings, 10 full games behind the Dodgers and one game behind the Cincinnati Reds.
On the injury front, the Dodgers find themselves ready to welcome back some teammates throughout the week.
On Tuesday, the Dodgers are expected to activate and start Julio Urías. The lefty has been on the 10-day injured list with a calf contusion that happened in his last start against the Mets at Citifield in New York. “We haven’t announced it, but it’s trending that way”, manager Dave Roberts said on Sunday. His quick return with save the Dodgers from once again having to behave a bullpen game before getting to the two co-Aces of Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer.
Joe Kelly also should be joining the team soon. After two outings in low Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Kelly is ready to return to the team. He needed only seven pitches in his outing on Sunday to retire the side. He has been on the 10-day IL since August 10, with no injury designation.
Most importantly, Mookie Betts should be set to rejoin the team on Thursday. Betts has been dealing with a hip issue all season, and on this IL stint was diagnosed with a bone spur in his right hip. By all accounts the hip has responded well to treatment and Mookie is feeling much more likw his old self.
“Really encouraged,” Roberts said. “I think with a player who’s been going through some things, you can tell by their disposition and demeanor, he’s in such a good place emotionally right now, which speaks to how his body feels.”
The Dodgers will have a “dilemma” on their hands when Mookie returns. Trea Turner, with his speed and high batting average, has been perfect atop the lineup while Mookie has been gone. Last week alone, Turner posted a .500 OBP, going 13-for-28 with a home run and four doubles.
Do you keep Turner atop the lineup and let Mookie work his way back into feeling comfortable again? Move Turner down in the lineup and let Mookie have the top spot? There may not be a wrong answer, and definitely a ‘problem’ every team would love to have.