With a win over the Giants on Friday evening, the Dodgers clinched the 2017 National League West Division Championship. It’s the Dodgers’ fifth straight and 16th overall NL West title, as the club reached the postseason in five consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Although there is still a lot of work left to be done, those of us in Dodgers Nation can breathe a little sigh of relief after the recent series in San Francisco. Our beloved team is starting to look like the powerhouse team it was earlier in the season.
At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.
I watched some Dodgers games last week and they didn’t get any runs and the starting pitching gave up a whole ton of runs and there were players playing I didn’t know much about and some players I really like are hurt and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
As I was watching the game on Wednesday, one of the announcers (I think Orel Hershiser, but my apologies if it wasn’t) made a flip remark about Clayton Kershaw being the stopper, brought in to stop losing streaks. And I thought, “Oh goodness, it’s been three games so far, sure, but no way they’ll need him to stop a five game losing streak.”
At this particular juncture of the 2017 campaign, it’s a bit difficult to provide a general outlook regarding the starting rotation of the Dodgers, mainly because of its present instability. Yet, although the pitching hasn’t been the sole culprit of the club’s first four-game losing streak since May of 2016, it has indeed been ugly as of late, especially in the current series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
With each passing day, it seems as if more positive news surfaces regarding the improvement of staff ace Clayton Kershaw‘s back injury. Yet regardless of how hard the three-time NL Cy Young award winner pushes for a return to the active roster, the Dodgers have hardly any rationale at all to warrant a speedy return to the team.
Remember April? That 10-12 record the Dodgers owned? Yeah, about that. At this point, that month was just a blip on the radar. A slow start for the Engine that Could, and an Engine that now that it has gotten going, seems difficult to stop.
While there are several factors which could potentially contribute to the dynamics of the Dodgers pitching rotation over the coming week, the club still continues to take a conservative approach on a day-to-day basis, protecting themselves from one or two outcomes that may determine the fate of the starting five moving forward.
While many baseball fans around the globe tuned into the 2017 MLB All-Star Game expecting an offensively dominant showcase of fireworks, the almost complete opposite occurred — a display of superior pitching with a few timely hits sprinkled in along the way.