The Los Angeles Dodgers are enjoying a well deserved off day at home, after sweeping both the Giants in San Francisco, and the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Many players, coaches and friends will convene Monday evening at Chavez Ravine for Clayton Kershaw’s Ping Pong for a Purpose. The annual fundraiser which raises money for Kershaw’s Challenge and Arise Africa is a fun event where attendees wear bright and colorful outfits and try to one up each other in Ping Pong. Kershaw is usually a member of the winning team.
Aside from Kershaw’s back, things are really, really good in Dodgerland right now. While there is a break in the action, let’s take a minute to acknowledge where this team is and what they are accomplishing.
It is August 8th, and the Dodgers have the NL West basically wrapped up. L.A. currently has a 15.5 games ahead of the second place Padres, and 22.0 games ahead of the third place Giants.
The Padres, trying to keep up with the Dodgers, made a bunch of massive moves at the trade deadline, bringing in Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury, and Josh Hader. Over the weekend, however, none of those acquisitions made any difference, as the Dodgers handed all three games pretty easily, out scoring the Padres 20-4, including only allowing two hits total in Sunday’s series finale.
The Padres may indeed prove to be a huge threat in the playoffs. Right now, they just seem like a kid brother trying to be relevant.
As the risk of risking some hubris, this team is very reminiscent of the 2017 Dodgers. They are good top to bottom, especially now that Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy seem to be finding their way, if not back to their former glory, as a threat once again at the bottom of the order.
These Dodgers don’t live and die by the homer, either. They are seventh in the majors in home runs, but second in doubles. They are third in batting average, and lead the majors in OBP, slugging, and OPS. They seem to be using their speed on the bases more, also.
The Dodgers pitching has been phenomenal. If one had told you Kershaw and Walker Buehler would’ve both been on the IL for much of the season, you’d probably be worried. But in true Dodger fashion, they’ve found players to step up. Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson are a combined 26-2! Just think about that for a moment!
And speaking of players stepping up, this year’s bench is soooo much better than last year’s. Trayce Thompson, Hanser Alberto, and either Chris Taylor or Gavin Lux if they’re not starting is a vast improvement over who the Dodgers ran out there last postseason. Edwin Rios is still on track to return, and even if it gets to rookies James Outman or Miguel Vargas, they’ve shown themselves to be capable of hitting at the major league level. And, the Dodgers still have about a month to see if they can return Joey Gallo to his former glory.
But maybe the best of all is this team is FUN, and they all truly seem to like each other. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman had formed a fast friendship. Alberto is the biggest cheerleader there could ever be. And all new players and rookies are welcomed with open arms.
I’m obviously not trying to tell Dodgers fans things they don’t already know, or how to view this team. But this edition of Dodgers baseball is incredibly fun I’m going to do my best to enjoy it while the getting is good. The playoffs, as we all know, are a crap-shoot and it would be a shame if the Dodgers don’t go far. But again, not trying to tempt fate, and barring injuries, it doesn’t seem like that will be an issue for this team.
11 thoughts on “On Enjoying this Moment of Dodger Baseball”
Make that 16 games. Padres lost again last night to the Giants. I am enjoying the ride. Vargas optioned to OKC. Active roster sits at 25 so somebody gets activated before tonight’s game or they play a man short.
JT is back and starting at DH.
No idea what the point of bringing Vargas up was. Crush his enthusiasm I guess.
I would imagine they told him when he got here that it wasn’t going to be for long but that he should enjoy the experience. And judging by the constant smile on his face, he did.
He knows he’s probably going to make the team out of ST next year so I don’t think it crushed his spirit.
What he’s really worried about though is having you pronounce him too old to be a prospect. He told me he loses sleep over that one. 🙂
Vargas is now on the 40 man roster. He gets a pay boost. Plus it acknowledges their faith in him. Small steps but I am sure he is encouraged. Also I think many people are guessing he will be in the line up next year. Lots of position guys off contract in 23. Do they re-sign J Turner, T Turner, Gallo, Alberto, Thompson etc?
Would only agree if he is a call up in September. The general idea is to play them til they fail, then when they get sent back they have a focus. He’s just 23, if he’s not better than a few of those guys on the roster, including Rios, then maybe we can write him off.
We will have to see. Watching him play at OKC and before that in Tulsa Vargas is one of those rare players that have the ability to make consistent contact. Part is genetics but the fact his father was a star in Cuba, a baseball hotbed, and has continued to coach him probably has enhanced his ability. Gomes, Friedman and others have commented on his ability, I am hoping they do not re-sign J Turner as 25 man roster spots are precious. Perhaps plan to start off with Rios and Vargas sharing 3rd base and other positions. Rios has great power numbers when given a chance but has not been able to stay off the IL. I think Rios is a legitimate MLB player. I am curious if they decide to go for signing T Turner this winter. A line up of Betts, T Turner and Freeman is a great answer to the Soto, Tatis, and Machado line up down south. The Dodgers continue to have better pitching and players down the lineup. The Padres have Drury and Bell as rentals i wonder if they spend the money to re-sign them and if they can afford it?
Write him off? Ridiculous, Kid is a natural born hitter.
Well natural born minor league hitter anyway. They are a dime a dozen. I happen to agree with you but the dodgers seem to have doubts about that. I always pay attention to what they do, not what they say. He should be given a real opportunity at his age ahead of the over the hill gang, Rios,Gallo, thompson, Alberto etc, etc.
I wouldn’t give up on Rios quite yet, I think he’s still going to get a shot at the end of this season, and next season. I think he just needs one healthy season to show his worth
Quite possible. Everyone seems to love Rios and I have no idea why.