Week 22 In Review: What. The. Hell.

Dear Dodgers,

I don’t know what’s going on here, but this is NOT what I ordered.

I was promised a magical team. A team that would become the most winningest team in baseball. I was promised a team that would break records, dominate the game and storm their way into the playoffs like not team before it….but what I got in it’s place was a week so pathetic and disappointing I could have called it a date.

Coming off his brilliant performance, Rich Hill, decided to seek revenge by being brilliantly awful. Don’t have to worry about a “perfect game/run support” narrative after getting  shelled for five runs in the first inning of the week. Ryu and Maeda would seek inspiration in Hill’s struggles and allow a combined 10 runs in their first three innings of work. The team then flew down to San Diego to open a series with the Padres. With Kershaw returning, and shiny new September call ups, (and Ethier) to face a less than spectacular Padre team, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to rebound from a rough sweep. So of course they didn’t. Their only win was largely Kershaw’s doing, as the offense begrudgingly squeezed out only one run of support. The rest of the series was more of the same as the Dodgers dropped the rest of the four game series.

When approaching a disaster, it is important to understand, how and why it happened. So, let’s dive in:

Starting Pitching:

The Dodger pitchers were taking it from both ends but every starter except for Kershaw struggled this week. There are some issues here. Dervish’s command has been inconsistent in many of his starts and Alex Wood’s velocity had dipped back down late into his start. Hill’s start was sandwiched between two solid starts so this does not appear to be a concern going forward. Maeda and Ryu may both be regressing big time, but they’ve been over performing for a significant time now and both are back end starters anyway. The great thing about this week is that Kershaw looked like himself in his return from the injury and he’s the biggest key to the Dodgers success anyway.

Bullpen:

Part of the reason the Dodgers had a chance to comeback in so many games this summer was the bullpens ability to keep the games close. While people love to hate on the bullpen the Dodgers have statistically had one of the best in baseball coming into the week. So while Baez, Font, Castillo, and Fields all struggled this week, the biggest concern is Baez, who continues to be used in high leverage situations and is simply not as good as some might believe. Other than ERA his numbers aren’t pretty and this is a guy that does figure to make the postseason roster. Which is not the case for Font and Castillo, while it would have been nice to see them perform well, management simply wants to get a look at them against major league hitters. The bullpen has had it’s bright spots. Watson, Paredes, and Cingrani have each looked good, particularly Cingrani who seems to be responding to the changes the team has made with him.

Offense:

It’s worth noting that four of the six losses were by two runs or less. So while the games might have been ugly early. The Dodgers nearly came back, and for a team struggling as much as they have, it’s a little releasing to know they were probably one big hit away from winning five out of the seven games this week. The other good news is that two of the players that were scuffling last week, were two of the best hitters, this week. Gonzalez and Turner turned around their recent struggles rather quickly which is a good sign for the team. Aside from Taylor, the rest of the struggled. Particularly Logan Forsythe and Curtis Granderson. The concern here is that these are two players that figure to make the postseason roster, and yet we’ve seen how quickly veterans can turn things around in Turner and Gonzalez. The only real worry here is that Forsythe has largely underperformed offensively for most of the season. The talent is still there however, and he may just need a fresh start, and the postseason could be the perfect time to do just that.

It may seem like the magic has run out, but to boil the Dodgers success to this point to magic or luck would be undermining the truth. The truth is that there is no magic and there was never magic, only a team full of talent, a team with so much depth that they could throw any hitter up in a big spot late in the game and he would be the right man for the job. You can’t rig this game to always come out on top, but the best way to increase your odds is to load up on talent, and that’s what they’ve done. But even the best players and most talented players will have slumps, they will fail much more than half of the time, because that’s just how the game works, and it’s not magic or luck, it’s simply the game.

There’s no way around it, this week was ugly. The starters gave up runs early, the bullpen gave up runs late, and the offense didn’t do much either. And yet, with the exception of two of the losses, the team was in most of the games until the end. The Dodgers weren’t exactly rolling out there best players out there either. So before you hit the panic button, remember that they weren’t going to play historic baseball forever, remember that they are resting their regulars because they can, remember that they can afford to struggle for awhile. Because despite the fact the Dodgers have seen their lead rapidly shrink, the Dodgers are still 12.5 games ahead. Arizona is already deep into a hot streak, to pass the Dodgers in the next two weeks the Diamondbacks will have needed to break off a 24 game winning streak, and the Dodgers will have had to have lost every one of those games in the meantime.

So Dodgers,

Please win, because Diamondback fans are getting cocky and they are incredibly obnoxious. Thanks!

Sincerely,

A fan that got used to wins.

  • 8/29           6-7            L            @ARZ
  • 8/30            4-6            L            @ARZ
  • 8/31            1-8            L            @ARZ
  • 9/01            1-0            W            @SD
  • 9/02            5-6            L            @SD
  • 9/02            2-7            L            @SD
  • 9/03            4-6            L            @SD

Record For The Week: 1-6 (yikes)

Key Moments:

  • Kershaw dazzles in return
  • Turner homers in 9th to tie game
  • Ethier returns
  • Bellinger becomes new Dodger rookie HR leader
  • Verdugo picks up his first ML hit.

Injury Update:

Josh Fields (lower back) placed on 10-day DL

Grant Dayton (neck stiffness) transferred to 60-day DL

Corey Seager (elbow soreness) day-to-day

Adam Liberatore (forearm) sent on Triple A rehab assignment

Brandon McCarthy (blister) sent on throwing bullpen session

Player of the Week: Clayton Kershaw

The guy can miss a couple a weeks and then pitch like nothing happened. What a beast.

Week Twenty-Two Puig:

You got, “Eh, Puig”

Puig wasn’t the problem with this week, though he wasn’t exactly the solution either. Pretty forgettable line in an utterly forgettable week for the boys in blue.

.238/.360/.476

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