Say the words “Houston Astros” in L.A., and you’ll get a variety of responses but, more often than not, you’ll hear tales of the 2017 World Series. The cities of Houston and Los Angeles are forever connected and, until the Dodgers get a second chance, Houston will be the hero of that tale. Travel 258 miles North up I-45, however, and you’ll hear a different story.
We all hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it did, and now the Dodgers are dealing with it. Clayton Kershaw is back on the disabled list with, you guessed it, a back injury. This has become a pattern, as Kershaw has hit the DL each of the past two summers with virtually the same injury. However, this season the Dodgers are more prepared.
“Well,” I thought to myself on Monday night, “This isn’t good.” César Hernandez had just launched a 3-run shot in the 2nd inning, extending the Phillies lead over the Dodgers, 4-0. If this was last year, a 4-0 deficit would be nothing. If anything, it meant that the fans were being set up for a riveting comeback by the Boys in Blue. It’s not 2017, though, and not only were the Dodgers facing a daunting deficit, they were in the throws of a bullpen game, and this bullpen is not what it once was.
I, like many, am guilty of this. I won’t stop talking about 2017 because let’s be honest, before Thursday, 2017 was a far prettier thought. The problem with this, however, is that remembering 2017 does next to nothing for the team now. Of course, strategies that worked for the team back then may work again now, so in that case, by all means, think about last year. What I think has made it tough on a lot of people is the losing, and rightly so. In the same week, the Dodgers got swept by the Cincinnati Reds but later swept the Washington Nationals.
Allow me to start off by saying that Justin Turner has only been back for one game, and fans should be under no impression that the Dodgers will turn things around right away. However, Turner’s first game back brought little to no hope to a team stuck in a losing streak.
This year, the Dodgers haven’t looked like themselves. They look lost and out of sync. Using the fact that the season is just beginning is no longer a valid reason for the Dodgers shortcomings, but then again, it may be a little early for them to press the big red button that says PANIC.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not the ’98 Yankees. The Dodgers are not the ’16 Cubs or the ’04 Sox. They are the physical manifestation of what would have been had Bill James, Billy Beane, George Steinbrenner, and Andrew Friedman all shared stories and ideas over coffee.
Last weekend was fun for the Dodgers. They faced a yearly competitor in the Washington Nationals and won two out of three games. Now, they’re finishing up a series against the Miami Marlins, another NL East club that’s on a very different path.
On Monday night, the Dodgers scored 10 runs, five days after being beaten by an offensively dominant Oakland team, 16-6. For the first 10-12 games of the season, many asked: “Where oh where is the Dodgers’ offense?”