It’s no fun when every team except the Dodgers is hot. In fact, in the middle of an intense heat wave that is passing through Southern California, the Dodgers are ice cold. Yesterday, the Dodgers lost both games of a doubleheader to the Padres. This is completely unacceptable. The Padres have already been eliminated from post-season play and the Dodgers have a magic number of thirteen. Up until this point in the year, the Dodgers have been destroying the Padres. So what’s the problem?
The Dodgers are on a terrible (and annoying) cold street checking right now. In fact, to this point, the Dodgers have only two wins total in their last three series. In the month of August, the Dodgers had a record of 17-10. In July they went 21-3. Do you see the problem? The Dodgers played much worse in August than they did in July. So what’s causing this cold stretch?
There are a few things that are causing the Dodgers to lose so many more games. We’ll start with the fact that teams are more determined than ever to beat the Dodgers. This may sound like an excuse, and it is, but it’s also true. The Dodgers, the best team in baseball, are the primary targets of all their opponents. This is a natural reaction to facing the best team in baseball. All of the sudden winning becomes important to the opponents so they play even harder than the Dodgers.
The second problem is the Dodgers’ pitching. Ever since the series against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, I’ve known that (with the exception of Clayton Kershaw) the Dodgers pitching was a mess, but it wasn’t until the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader that I realized how big of a problem it is. In the first game of the series against the Diamondbacks, Rich Hill gave up five runs in the first inning. In the second game, Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up six earned runs. In the final game of the series, Kenta Maeda allowed seven earned runs.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, the Dodgers’ pitching fell apart again after a great start from Clayton Kershaw. It was a doubleheader and the Dodgers lost both games. In the first game, the Dodgers walked eight batters and lost on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. In the second game, Yu Darvish allowed five runs in the loss.
The third problem is that the Dodgers hitters look like we’re in 2016. Do you remember 2016? I remember it as the year that the Dodgers seemed to enjoy leaving runners in scoring position. Well, ever since the series in Detroit, the Dodgers have acted like they’re in 2016. They’re leaving runners on base left and right. This is causing games in which they are not scoring more than one or two runs. With the way the pitching is going, the Dodgers need more than two runs to win a game.
I’m sure that they will pull it together, but if they don’t do it soon, the Astros will pass them as the best team in Baseball. The Diamondbacks are hot right now and they are gaining ground rapidly (not like there’s anything much to worry about). It’s possible for them to clinch the division next Sunday (but it won’t likely happen). For it to happen, the Dodgers would need to win every game and the Diamondbacks would need to lose all of theirs.