April is coming to a close and along with it the first month of the 2022 season. Right now, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 12-6, and in second place in the NL West, 0.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants.
Overall, the Dodgers have played well. But for as talented and stacked as this team is, they are still leaving some things to be desired. But we will start with the best parts of the team.
The pitching staff has been phenomenal. As a whole, they lead the Majors with a 2.21 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and .178 batting average against. The depth of the starting rotation, which fans feared could be detrimental, has bent a little bit with Andrew Heaney having to go on the 10-day IL with left forearm soreness. But Tyler Anderson has stepped into the fifth starter’s role and done just fine, currently sporting a 2.84 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP over 12.2 innings of work.
In the entirety of the past Arizona series, the staff only allowed nine hits in those three games. Walker Buehler has the only complete game so far in the majors, and it was a shutout. Both Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw have been their normal, steady selves, and while Tony Gonsolin has sometimes wavered, he has a 1.59 ERA across 17.0 innings of work, easily one of the best back end starters of any rotation out there.
Justin Turner has almost always had a slow start to seasons, but this season he is especially struggling at the plate. He is just barely over the Mendoza line with a batting average of .206, and in the last seven games, he has a paltry .154/.143/.192 slash line. He also has yet to hit a home run.
Mookie Betts is also not having a super hot start to the season. And as Joe Davis has said many times, as Mookie goes, so goes the team. When Mookie gets on base and scores runs, the team is much more likely to win. Betts only had three total hits in the Arizona series, where the Dodgers lost two of three.
Max Muncy also has not been able to do much of anything at the plate so far this season. He is only batting .155 with two homers. He could still be feeling lingering affects from his elbow injury at the end of last season.
All three will get their act together at the plate, but at the moment there are definite holes in the lineup. Luckily the lineup as a whole is so talented they don’t need everyone hitting on all cylinders at all times to win games. But when they all slump like they did in Arizona it’s a little hard to watch.
Errors and bad plays have been the downfall of the Dodgers when they lose games. Case in point – Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks, the pitching staff only allowed two hits yet the Dodgers lost 3-1. Costly mistakes are what allowed the DBacks to score, along with a suddenly slumping lineup. While having only seven errors as a team, when they do make them they compound and allow the other team to score.
The old adage is that the division cannot be won in April, but it can be lost. The Giants proved they were not a fluke last season by winning 107 games, and forcing the Dodgers to play hard in every game down to the last game of the season. If they hadn’t had to, maybe they wouldn’t have lost Muncy to injury and been so exhausted going into the playoffs.
The Giants are once again showing that they have a formidable team and will be around to fight for the division all season. A team as talented as the Dodgers can’t be throwing away games against the teams they need to beat like the Diamondbacks. But their talent should allow them to prevail.