At the exact halfway mark of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers control the National League West division by a half-dozen games over their nearest competitor. They’re 25 games over .500, a mark that many fans would have expected at the onset of the season.
The way the team has gotten there, though, has many pundits befuddled. Obviously, even the really good teams across the league can’t win every game, but the Dodgers lose quite a few that they should have won — case in point, having been swept by the Pirates in their own house a few months back.
The superior teams each year seem to improve as the season progresses and typically hit their peaks right when the playoffs roll around. The Dodgers, however, appear to be riding a never-ending roller coaster, leaving fans unsure which team will show up on any given night.
Nevertheless, the club’s 9-1 run is a great example of the peaks they have hit this year. There’s been some timely hitting — see Will Smith on Friday — and some long-awaited in-game management strategies by skipper Dave Roberts — see choosing Alex Vesia over Craig Kimbrel on Thursday. More moments like these could suggest an even more successful second half.
As fans, we’d be happy to say that we hope this caliber of play continues, but we’re not that gullible. We’re familiar with the inconsistencies, and we know that it’s tough for a team to excel with several sub-Mendoza Line hitters smack-dab in the middle of the lineup along with one of the most underperforming closers on the senior circuit.
As crazy as it sounds, the Dodgers still lead the majors with a 2.91 team ERA, thanks primarily to the heroics of Tony Gonsolin. The Los Angeles starting rotation has a remarkable 2.66 combined ERA, almost a half-run better than the second-place Yankees with a 3.14 mark. With Walker Buehler set to rejoin the team at some point, there might be a chance the starting rotation gets even better, so long as the key members stay healthy.
The bullpen is a bit of a different story with a combined 3.28 ERA, sitting in sixth place in the majors. Even though some players can be described as overachieving — Evan Phillips and Yency Almonte, for example — the consensus is the relief crew could be better. There’s no question there will be at least one significant addition before the trade deadline arrives in a few weeks.
Right now, fans can say that the Dodgers are in a great spot heading into the second half, as things could be a lot worse. However, based on the streakiness we’ve seen so far, anything can happen.
Some might say that’s why teams play the game, but with the way the Dodgers look on paper, there’s no National League team even close to them talent-wise right now.
Let’s just hope they’re healthy with a full tank of gas when October rolls around.
7 thoughts on “Despite Underachieving First Half, Dodgers Still Set Standard in National League”
Interesting team this 22 Dodger version. Buehler, Heaney, Treinen, Gonzalez, Kahnle, Ferguson and Kershaw all on the IL for various parts of 22. Muncy apparently hurt, Bellinger continues to flirt with the Mendoza line as has JT. Yet the team is on pace to win 108! Amazing! Taylor out yet the Thompson & Lamb platoon has produced. What could they accomplish if it all came together? Treinen and May reportedly will be back this year.
Do you really think Muncy is hurt? If so, they need to shut him down until he recovers. There are plenty of better defensive options who can hit above .160. He’ll, let Lamb play third and Turner DH full time if they want him in the lineup so badly.
I am assuming he is hurt. What I don’t understand is why play him? Bellinger is a Gold Glove CF’er but Muncy is a below average fielder so why not let Muncy either heal or sit down and work on his mechanics? The Dodgers have 3 guys in that lineup flirting with 200 and striking out a lot! It kills rallies. Makes no sense.
I don’t think Muncy is 100%. But it could be the team has decided he needs to play through it. If this is the new him, he’s done. How long do they wait? Beats me. At least to the deadline.
The strike outs are a concern as with Bellinger they are rally killers. Lux is a good 2nd baseman and hitting. Why not use him and platoon Lamb and Thompson in left? Muncy was 0-4 last night with 2 strike outs and is at .159 ave
I can’t see any reason the Dodgers would keep playing Muncy if he is still injured. I have to assum he is healthy. Which brings up the question of how much longer can the team wait for him to start consistently producing. It doesn’t have to be at an All-Star level. League average would suffice. My patience is starting to run out on Muncys act. It would also be helpful if Bellinger was more consistent. He has one good game followed by 3 not so good ones. He needs to quit swinging for the fence and concentrate on making contact.
People play hurt all the time. Muncy had a decent day today.
Lux back where he belongs.