When the Los Angeles Dodgers are good, they are very very good, and when they are bad, they are horrid.
Now, horrid may actually a little too harsh a word, but things were not great for the Dodgers this past weekend in San Francisco. Los Angeles was swept by the Giants, and only managed to score four runs total despite having an incredible amount of chances to score in each game.
They also lost another pitcher to injury. Walker Buehler, who has looked very unlike himself so far this season, has been placing on the IL due to a right forearm strain. Manager Dave Roberts said that Buehler will be down for a minimum of six to eight weeks. “As of now”, Roberts believes that Buehler will return this year. But, “it’s gonna be awhile”.
How long the issue has been persisting for Buehler is unknown, and if it has led to his issues with his fastball and command so far this season.
The timing of Buehler going on the IL aligned with Clayton Kershaw finally returning from his own IL stint. He only went 4.2 innings in his return, allowing two earned runs on three hits, with two walks, and four strikeouts. Overall, it was a solid first outing for Kershaw after five weeks on the IL. His pitch count was only 70 this time, and should be growing each subsequent outing from there.
As seen in the tweet above, the once vaunted Dodgers rotation seems to be hanging on by a thread. A lot is dependent on how Andrew Heaney looks when he returns from the IL, probably next week, if Tony Gonsolin can stand up to the higher workload, and if Tyler Anderson can continue his dominant outings.
Anderson did seem to come back down to earth, at least for one outing. Conversely, Julio Urías, who has had a rocky start to his season, looked really good in his outing Sunday against the Giants. Two bad pitches for solo home runs in the first inning, and that was all the scoring the Giants did. He only allowed on other hit, and struck out 10 over 6.0 innings.
But the real issue seems to be with the offense. Joe Davis is fond of saying “as Mookie goes, so goes the team”. Well, that has been especially glaring over the last few games. Mookie Betts has been as cold as he was hot in the month of May. He is 2-for-26 over the last six days, and the Dodgers have gone 2-4 over those six games.
Whatever was working in May to help Mookie be so hot, it has apparently disappeared now. But it isn’t only Betts.
The Dodgers have three off days over the next eight, and will be back at home for five games during that span. If there was a team that needs a reset, it is these Dodgers. It is not at the point of panic or any other overreaction. The Dodgers still are in first place in the NL West, and have a favorable schedule to finish out the month of June. But it is time to take a step back, assess, and come out looking like the dominant team they should be.