It’s been a rather depressing end of summer for Dodgers fans, as the Boys in Blue couldn’t quite get much going through the end of August and the month of September. But today the Northern Hemisphere turns to autumn, and the Dodgers will be celebrating Clinchmas, and hopefully those losing days will fall behind them.
As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.
Clayton Kershaw. Everybody knows that name. It’s a name that is often followed by these words: “The Best Pitcher on the Planet.” I agree with that statement, and not just because I’m a fan of the Dodgers. I agree with it because it just makes sense. People often say that Kershaw has the potential to be the best pitcher baseball has ever seen, all he needs to do is win a World Series. The Dodgers have as good of a chance at a championship this year than they ever have before.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of this blog, you may remember last year when I did an article on the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcasting crew, and whether they were truly impartial to both teams. There was about a five minute gap between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals in that game. However, last night’s viewing of the game between the Dodgers and the Washington Nationals seemed to me to have a distinct D.C. slant, so I decided to go back and see if this was true, or if I was just being a biased fan.
On the offensive side of things, there’s probably not a streakier hitter on the Dodgers‘ entire roster than catcher Yasmani Grandal. When he’s hot, he’s often capable of carrying the team’s production on his own shoulders, but when he’s cold, he sometimes shuts down completely. During these quiet stretches, the club’s output with the lumber frequently feels the effects of such nosedives, especially when he’s entrenched smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles batting order.
Being that the San Francisco Giants have resided in the cellar of the National League West for almost the entirety of the season, coupled with the fact that they are only a few games away from the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in all of baseball, one would have presumed that a three-game series at AT&T Park was just what the doctor ordered to ease the Los Angeles Dodgers out of perhaps one of their worst team slumps in decades.
It’s difficult to even know where to begin when writing an article on the Dodgers these days. Last Monday, I was flippant. Friday, I was morose and somewhat at a loss for what to say, and now….really, what does one say?
“Are you nervous?” my husband asks me before the Dodgers game. “Not yet,” I reply. I rattle off a number of reasons why not, that this isn’t the batting order that worked so beautifully earlier in the season, that the pitchers who got demolished in Arizona did really well against the same team the second go-round, Kershaw is on the mound.
September looks different for these Dodgers, very different. Within the first week of the month, the Boys in Blue have not looked like their normal selves, as the pitching and offense have not been at their usual championship-worthy levels. Don’t get used to it, though, because before you know it, the Dodgers will hit their stride again and we’ll go back to being amazed with their caliber of play.