Happy Monday and Happy Labor Day to all you Los Angeles Dodgers fans out there. We find ourselves one game out of first in the NL West, after yet another frustrating series against the San Francisco Giants.
Walker Buehler, who has been nails in big starts all throughout his career, got knocked around. Many men were left on base, something that is not a rare occurrence. And the umpire definitely did not help things, calling out Mookie Betts in the top of the ninth on a pitch that was most definitely not a strike.
The series also saw the loss of AJ Pollock to the IL, as he suffered a grade 2 hamstring pull while trying to steal third Saturday. While Manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that AJ felt much better Sunday, he still is expected to be out a few weeks.
Taking Pollock permanently out of the lineup for awhile means that Cody Bellinger will be back in the lineup full time. Belli is currently batting .167, and has a -1.2 WAR. His unwillingness to change his approach at the plate is leaving a hole in the bottom of the lineup every night. But his defense in center is what keeps him in the lineup.
Regardless of Bellinger, however, the rest of the lineup also needs to do their job. Max Muncy, usually a verified Giants Killer, Muncy managed one hit in the whole series against the Giants. Trea Turner’s average has dropped from .321 to .289. Across the board, the vaunted offense is failing the team.
The pitching has been what is keeping them in games, and hopefully more reinforcement is coming in the next week or so. Clayton Kershaw, on the injured list since July 7, is slated to pitch three innings in Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. If all goes well in that outing, he will be reinstated on the active roster.
Tony Gonsolin threw 41 pitches in 2.1 innings of work in a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He also could be activated soon, but is unlikely to pitch in this week’s series against the St Louis Cardinals.
Danny Duffy, acquired at the trade deadline from Kansas City, also is seemingly getting closer to seeing his Dodger debut. Duffy threw a bullpen session at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Saturday. As long as he came out of that ok, he will have another bullpen before throwing a sim game later this week.
The Dodgers are in St Louis for a four game set against the Cardinals. Besides Max Scherzer starting on Monday, no other starters have yet been named. The Dodgers will no doubt have to get through some more bullpen games before Julio Urías and Buehler’s turns come around in the rotation. David Price bas been battling an arm issue, and while he pitched in Sunday’s game, his next start is in question.
The offense has been in a lull for quite some time and as the Dodgers can see the regular season finish line, now would be the perfect time for it to heat up so they can retake the NL West and head into the playoffs with some good momentum.