A few weeks ago, when the Dodgers looked like they were at rock bottom, I went through and looked at the upcoming schedule, and what the Dodgers would have to do to climb back to .500 and back to the top of the division. An off day today was a good time to take stock of what has transpired over the first two and a half months of the season.
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.
With the news that Dodgers‘ ace Clayton Kershaw arrived on the disabled list with a lower-back strain, the troubling pattern of increasing—and more severe—injuries reared its ugly head yet again. I’m not in Kershaw’s shoes, so I cannot advise him on what he should or should not do. But I can certainly say that I am concerned about his long-term health, both as a fan and as a fellow human being.
I suppose sports are just meant to break your heart. The Dodgers have definitely done that to me so many times in the last decade or so. I fully acknowledge that sometimes, a fan is wont to think more with their heart than with their head. But there are also some players that are so rare, that you can’t help but never want them to play for any other team but yours.
“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.
While many fans of the Dodgers were once again pointing their fingers at the bullpen after Saturday’s loss to the Padres, I thought I’d try to make some sense of what was happening by digging a little deeper into some of the general numbers. And while there’s been no rhyme or reason as to when exactly the relief corps is likely to implode, there has been a bit of uniformity, nonetheless.
Considering the way right-handers Ross Stripling and Walker Buehler have thrown in recent outings, the Dodgers could conceivably have a few tough decisions on their hands should they find all of their available starting pitchers healthy at some point down the road.
With the Dodgers having won six of their last seven games, there’s really not much for fans to complain about these days, especially since the team is now only 3-1/2 games out of the division lead. However, when considering the overall scope of the 25-man roster, many people familiar with the club are still wondering if the team is indeed using the best available players at the big league level.
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.
A little over a week ago, Andy put together a story surrounding a meaningful comment from Dodgers‘ boss Andrew Friedman which stated something to the effect that the club was struggling to click on more than one vital component of its game on a nightly basis.