August 2018: A Standings Roller Coaster

DodgersMonthly Recaps

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The Dodgers began the month of August in a tie for first place with the Diamondbacks. The Rockies were only one game behind and the Giants were still hanging around, trailing by only five games. The Dodgers had just traded for a couple mediocre bullpen arms and two great infielders: Manny Machado and Brian Dozier.

The Month of July ended with the Dodgers losing two straight to the Brewers, but they turned the page quickly, beginning to climb the first hill on their roller coaster. Dozier hit his first home run as a Dodger on August first, in a game where Yasmani Grandal hit a walk-off home run. In the next game, the Dodgers set a Dodger Stadium record, scoring 21 runs in one game. This was the peak of the first hill.

Things turned south really quickly when the Astros came to town. The Dodgers were hoping to get revenge on the World Series champions. But that didn’t happen. The Dodgers were shut down in the first two games of the series, scoring only one run, while allowing a total of 16. They lost 2-1 in the first game, then 14-0 in the second.

The roller coaster leveled out for a couple games, before dropping at a 90° angle. The Dodgers beat the Astros 3-2 in the final game of the World Series rematch. They then went to Oakland, where Rich Hill dominated against his former team.

The Dodgers ended us splitting the two-game series against Oakland, then they traveled to Colorado. They won the first game, but they received bad news. Kenley Jansen was hospitalized, then sent to the DL with an irregular heartbeat. The Dodgers immediately began to free-fall. The Dodgers were tied for first place, with the Rockies 3.5 games back when Jansen hit the DL.

The Dodgers’ bullpen was the main problem for the Dodgers when they lost Jansen. They blew three-straight games after the seventh inning in Colorado. The Dodgers then came home, hoping that they could leave their problems in Colorado.

They couldn’t. They continued to waste good starts from Dodger starters in the first two games against the Giants. This gave the Dodgers a five-game losing streak and five straight games in which the bullpen blew it in the seventh inning or later.

The Dodgers avoided being swept by the Giants with a walk-off twelve-inning win. It was then time to play Seattle. The rollercoaster began to climb a little, as the Dodgers beat the Mariners 11-1 in the opener. They then lost a heartbreaking game on a balk. After this, they won another blow-out victory by a final score of 12-1.

After the Seattle series, the Dodgers were in third place, 2.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. But things got worse. The Dodger bats all of the sudden stopped. Jansen re-joined the team for the opening game of the series against the Cardinals. The Dodgers immediately put him back into the closer role. In the series, Jansen gave up three ninth-inning home runs, taking two losses. Things were not looking good for the Dodgers, who ended the series 4.5 games behind the Diamondbacks.

But then, the Padres came to town and the Dodgers began to climb the ladder again. They swept the Padres, winning by scores of 11-1, 5-4, and 7-3. Hill continued his August dominance and the Dodgers got contributions from multiple people in game one. In game two, the Dodgers took advantage of some mistakes by the Padres to walk-it-off in the twelfth inning. Machado and Turner stayed hot in game three, leading the Dodgers to the sweep.

Things got even better when the Dodgers went to Texas to play the Rangers. They swept the Rangers in two games, bringing them within one game of first place.

They finished the month against the D-backs, losing the first game, but defeating Zack Greinke and the D-backs in game two. They finished the month of August in second place, one game behind Arizona.

Who’s Hot?

  • Brian Dozier: Dozier’s batting average isn’t great, but he hit four home runs and drove in 15 runs in August. His OBP from August was .350 and his slugging percentage was .412. He also walked 19 times and struck out only 19 times.
  • Justin Turner: Turner was red-hot all month. He slashed .402/.491/.722. He hit six home runs with 20 RBI in August.
  • Manny Machado: Machado had a slow start to his Dodgers career. That slow start continued through the first half of the month. But ever since the first game of the Mariners series, Machado hit 7 home runs and drove in 16 runs
  • Rich Hill: Hill had a rough start the year but after he got rid of his blisters and fix some mechanical problems, he’s been a great pitcher.
  • Clayton Kershaw: Kershaw has been on the disabled list twice this year, but ever since his second return, he’s been a dominant pitcher again. He’s no longer a 15-strikeout pitcher. Instead, he uses fewer pitches to get batters out, allowing him to go deep into games.

Who’s Struggling?

  • Matt Kemp: Kemp had a great first half of the year. He made the All-Star team, and, at one time, was one of the top hitters in the National League. But the second half hasn’t been good to Kemp. In August, he slashed .214/.291/.286. He only hit one home run and collected only five RBI. He struck out 20 times and walked only 8.
  • Kenley Jansen: Jansen has an excuse for struggling but it still won’t keep him off the list. Jansen recorded only 3 saves with 1 loss and 1 blown save. This isn’t the Jansen we’re used to seeing. His ERA in August was 7.88 and opponents were hitting .343 against him. He allowed four home runs in the month.

The DL:

  • Justin Turner was activated from the DL on August 2. It was his second trip to the DL this year. This time it was a strain in his right groin.
  • Erik Goeddel was placed on the DL with right lat irritation. Goeddel had 2.95 ERA over 31 games before the injury.
  • Alex Wood was placed on the DL with left adductor tendonitis.
  • Corey Seager underwent surgery on his left hip. Seager was already sidelined with Tommy John surgery. He is not expected to miss additional time.
  • Jansen was hospitalized and placed on the DL with an irregular heartbeat. He was then given blood thinner medication.
  • John Axford was placed on the DL with a fractured tibia. Axford was one of the pitchers the Dodgers acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline.
  • Ross Stripling was placed on the DL with back inflammation.
  • Goeddel was activated from the DL, then placed back on it a few days later with elbow inflamation.

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