Category Archives: Monthly Recaps

July 2018: First Place and the Trade Deadline

The month of July began with hope. The Dodgers were still in second place but by only 2.5 games. The first-place Diamondbacks had just begun to slump and the Dodgers were hitting multiple home runs every day.

The homer-happy Dodgers began to slump at the end of June, due to the fact that they couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position. But when the Dodgers turned the page on the calendar, they also turned the page in the story of this season.

The Dodgers’ bats exploded against the Pirates in the days around the fourth of July, giving fans extra fireworks to watch during the game. The Dodges scored in many ways during the series. They hit ten home runs to go along with eleven RBI singles and doubles.

The Dodgers then lost 2 out of 3 to the Angels, in games they should have won. Afterward, they went to San Diego where they won 3 of 4 games. On July 12, while the Dodgers were in San Diego, we were finally able to say what we’ve been waiting to say all year: “the Dodgers are in first place!” They finally accomplished this feat with a 3-2 win over the Padres.

Then it was time to bring the Angels back to Chavez Ravin to end the honorary first half of the season. The Dodgers finished the first half in style, with Clayton Kershaw throwing eight innings to give them a happy flight to Washington D.C.

All-Star Break

The All-Star break was full of talk about the Dodgers. They sent three players to the game: Matt KempRoss Stripling, and Kenley Jansen. In addition, Max Muncy competed in the home run derby. Muncy beat Javier Báez in the first round of the derby, before falling to the hometown hero, Bryce Harper.

The next day, we got to see our All-Stars team up with the best players from other National League teams and compete against the best from the AL. The All-Star game had almost as many home runs as the derby did the night before. But the highlights of the game had to be in-game interviews with some of the players, including our very own Matt Kemp.

All the news about the Dodgers didn’t end when the All-Star game ended. In fact, it was just beginning. There were rumors about Manny Machado, the Orioles’ shortstop, being traded all year. But on the day of the All-Star game, a new leader in the Machado sweepstakes was announced. As you know, it was the Dodgers. By Thursday, the Dodgers were on their way to Milwaukee with Machado the newest member of the roster.

Second Half

Machado began to impact the Dodgers almost immediately. Machado recorded his first Dodgers hit in game one and his first extra-base hit and RBI in game three in Milwaukee. From there, the Dodgers went to Philadelphia where Machado reached base in every game. The Dodgers, however, lost two of three games to the Phillies.

The Dodgers then traveled to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves. Machado stole the show in the first game with his first Dodgers home run, but Rich Hill deserved the credit for the win with seven scoreless innings. The Dodgers beat the Braves in the next two games before losing the series finale. In the final game, Sean Newcombe no-hit the Dodgers through 8 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers then lost the first two games of the series against the Brewers. In game two, and the final game of July, Wade Miley shutout the Dodgers through seven innings in a 1-0 Dodgers loss.

Trade Deadline

While I was on Catalina Island, away from wifi and cell service, the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline came and went. Because of this, you can probably imagine my surprise when I came back home on Friday and discovered the Dodgers had made more major trades.

You already know about the Manny Machado trade. In the month of July after being traded to the Dodgers, Machado slashed .286/.407/469 with two home runs.

In addition to Machado, the Dodgers added more lineup depth when they acquired Brian Dozier in exchange from Logan Forsythe and two prospects. They also added a couple pitchers to the bullpen.

First Half Recap And Second Half Questions

The Dodgers officially reached the half-way point of the season on June 29, but they reached the ceremonial half-point when the All-Star break began. As I’m sure you know, the moto for this season is “Determined.” The goal is a World Series Championship. Anything else will be a disappointment. So how are they doing in their quest?

The season began miserably. At the end of April, the Dodgers had a 12-16 record and they were in fourth place in the NL West, eight games behind the first-place Diamondbacks. They placed even worse compared to the entire NL. They were fourth worst, ahead of only the Marlins, Padres, and Reds. At this point, a lot of Dodger fans were giving up on them this year.

May started out just about s poorly. They split a series with the D-Backs, then lost a series to the Padres. But the worst part of May was when they were swept in four games by the Cincinnati Reds. The bats were dead cold in that series and the pitching wasn’t great either. The Dodgers then lost two straight games to the Marlins.

But then, on May 17, things changed. The Dodgers were still in fourth place and nine games under .500 but Justin Turner was activated from the DL. He hit two doubles and drove in five runs, giving the Dodgers offense a much-needed start. The Dodgers carried this new-found momentum with them to Washington D.C. where they swept the Nationals in three games. All of the sudden, the Dodgers looked like a much better team. They ended May with a 26-30 record, in third place and only four games behind the D-Backs.

June was all about home runs. The Dodgers hit 55 home runs in the month. Sadly, most of these were solo shots. They couldn’t seem to get hits in any ways other than homers. But they still managed to win. They swept the Rockies in three games, the Rangers in two and the Mets in three. They also won series’ against the Pirates, Braves, Giants, and Cubs.

The season got even better in July. As soon as the Dodgers turned the calendar, they began getting runners on base and getting RBI base-hits. When the Dodgers beat the Padres 3-2 on July 12, they took control of first-place for the first time this year. They then gave it back to the D-Backs, before once again returning to the top of the leaderboard in the final game before the All-Star break.

First-Half Surprises

Max Muncy

Before April 17, this year, had you ever heard the name Max Muncy? If not, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t either. Muncy signed with the Oakland A’s in 2016. He had a few cups of coffee with them before they released him. The Dodgers then signed him in the off-season and he spent all of 2017 in Triple-A. Muncy was then brought to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

Then, injuries struck the Dodgers once again. Last year, Chris Taylor was the surprise player who helped the Dodgers. This year, it is Muncy. He hit a home run in his first game with the Dodgers. Since then, he hasn’t really slowed down, hitting a home run in every 10.4 at-bats. He was even good enough to compete in the Home Run Derby.

Matt Kemp

You may not be surprised by Kemp this year, but I sure am. The Dodgers traded for him in a salary dump with the Braves. They then tried to trade him to another team. No one wanted him. I bet they regret that now. Kemp is once again a great player and a great teammate.

Kemp’s been the most consistent Dodger when hitting with runners in scoring position. And even what was thought to be his greatest weakness, his glove, has been great. Kemp had a good enough first half that baseball fans voted him into the starting lineup in the All-Star game.

The Diamondbacks

I knew the Diamondbacks would be tough but I never thought they’d be this good. When the Dodgers tripped, fell, and passed out as soon as they left the starting gate, the D-Backs trampled everyone in their path. The only reason the Dodgers were able to reach first place is because of injuries to some of the Snakes’ key players.

Questions

Will The Dodgers Land Machado?

As I write this, 20 minutes before the All-Star game, Manny Machado, is still a Baltimore Oriole. There are exactly two weeks until the trade deadline. It is clear that Machado will be traded. Right now, baseball writers are saying that the Dodgers are the leaders in the Machado Sweepstakes.

Machado has been a third baseman most of his career, but he is now insisting on playing shortstop. This is exactly what the Dodgers need. Chris Taylor, who currently plays shortstop, can move to second base, Muncy can move to first, and Bellinger can move to center field. With Puig on the DL, Kemp can play in right field.

Will The D-Backs Fade?

No. There is not a chance the Diamondbacks are going to fade away. The Dodgers will need to continue to fight if they want to make the playoffs. The wildcard spots will go to the NL Central and East this year, so only the division leader will make the playoffs.

How Will The Dodgers Boost The ‘Pen?

The Dodgers bullpen has been terrific. After a terrible start, they shaped up and are now great. But they’re getting tired. If the Dodgers want to win the division, they must find one or two more quality arms. I think Zach Britton would be a great choice.

May 2018: Struggling Becomes Slight Improvement

The Dodgers got off to an absolutely horrible start this year. Because of this, just about every Dodger fan was freaking out. But now, the Dodgers seem to be doing a little better. On May 1, the Dodgers were in fourth place and they were nine games behind the Diamondbacks.

The lowest point of the month, and possibly the season, came in the middle of the month when the Dodgers were swept in by the Reds in a four-game series, followed immediately by two losses to the Marlins. During this six-game stretch, they scored only sixteen runs but they allowed thirty runs.

Fortunately, the Dodgers managed to right the ship for the final game against the Marlins. Justin Turner drove in five runs and collected five hits. Once the series was over, they traveled to Washington D.C. and swept the Nationals in three games. Since then, they have a 6-4 record.

Big Events:

  • Walker Buehler was called up to the big leagues. He pitched the first game of the series against the Padres in Mexico. Buehler threw six no-hit innings and the bullpen finished the no-hitter.
  • Clayton Kershaw was placed on the DL with left biceps tendinitis.
  • The Dodgers called up switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.
  • Justin Turner returned from the DL and made an almost immediate impact.
  • Buehler and Ross Stripling established themselves as the best pitchers on the Dodgers. They have a combined 6-2 record with a 1.94 ERA.
  • Kenley Jansen collected two saves in one day, earning the save in both games in the doubleheader against the Nationals.
  • Dodgers rally late against the Phillies to score five runs after being no-hit through five innings.

April 2018: Another Horrible Start

The last few years, the Dodgers have made themselves famous for their terrible starts to the season. This year is no different. For the most part, the Dodgers have been dead, at the plate, on the mound, and on the field. This poor start has put the Dodgers fourth place in the NL West. If you want my opinion, it’s time to panic.

The season started off poorly when the Dodgers lost the first two games by the same score, 1-0. After that, the longest winning streak they have been able to put together is four games, three of those against the Padres. Their longest losing streak was also four games.

While the Diamondbacks have been trampling anyone and everyone in their path, the Dodgers have been struggling to look like a team who won 104 games and made it to the World Series last year. The Dodger offense is hitting .247 so far this year, with 25 home runs, and 125 runs batted in. As far as pitching goes, their collective ERA is 4.03, with a 1.28 WHIP.

Big Events:

  • Rich Hill was put on the disabled list with a broken fingernail in his throwing hand. He later developed an infection in that finger.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is pitching like an Ace. He’s 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in five games. He has 34 strikeouts and nine walks over 28.1 innings.
  • Walker Buehler made his debut as a starter. He pitched five innings in a no-decision in his first start. In his second start, he allowed two runs and received the win.
  • Justin Turner took a step toward returning by beginning to hit off a tee.
  • Yasiel Puig was placed on the disabled list with a hip pointer and bruised foot.
  • Corey Seager will need Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He will miss the rest of the year.

Monthly Recap: April 2017

The beginning of April marks the end of Spring Training and the beginning of the regular season. The Dodgers had many highs and very many lows. In the first month of the season, the Dodgers played all the teams in the National League West, the Cubs, and the Phillies.

The season began with a four-game series against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw made his seventh straight opening day start, taking the mound for the Dodgers at Blue Heaven on Earth. Every Dodger in the starting lineup, including Kershaw, got at least one hit during the first game of the season. Joc Pederson hit a Grand Slam in the Dodgers’ 14-3 opening day victory over the Padres. The series played out as follows:

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
 Padres 3 Dodgers 14 Padres 4 Dodgers 0  Padres 1 Dodgers 3  Padres 2 Dodgers 10 

After the Dodgers finished the series against the Padres, they traveled to Denver, Colorado for a three-game series against the Rockies. Kyle Freeland made his Major League debut against the Dodgers, holding them to one run over six innings. The Dodgers avoided being swept with a wild win in game three of the series.

 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
 Dodgers 1 Rockies 2 Dodgers 2 Rockies 4 Dodgers 10 Rockies 6

When the Dodgers had finished the series against the Rockies, they traveled to Chicago for a three-game series. Game one was opening day for the Cubs and it included a banner-raising ceremony. The game was also delayed due to weather and the Cubs showed a replay of game six of the NLCS on the big screen at Wrigley Field. After a scheduled off day, the series continued with the Cubs receiving their World Series rings before the game.

 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
 Dodgers 2 Cubs 3 Dodgers 2 Cubs 0 Dodgers 0 Cubs 4

Next, the Dodgers traveled home to face the Diamondbacks for the first time and Clayton Kershaw faced off against Zack Greinke for the first time. The Dodgers jumped on Greinke, scoring five runs over five innings and giving him the loss.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 
 Diamondbacks 1 Dodgers 7 Diamondbacks 4 Dodgers 8 Diamondbacks 3 Dodgers 1  Diamondbacks 4 Dodgers 2

The Rockies then came to Dodger Stadium for a two-game series, and Kyle Freeland got his second start against the Dodgers in his third Major League start. Hyun-Jin Ryu was charged with four runs in his worst start so far this year, and the Dodgers’ late rally fell short by one run.

 Game 1 Game 2
 Rockies 4 Dodgers 3 Rockies 2 Dodgers 4

After a scheduled off day, the Dodgers traveled to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks for three games. The Dodgers pitching was unable to keep the Diamondbacks from scoring in the first two games, but Brandon McCarthy was able to keep the D-backs under control in the third game. Also during the third game, Joc Pederson was pulled out early with an injury and was sent to the 10-day DL.

 Game 1 Game 2  Game 3 
 Dodgers 5 Diamondbacks 13 Dodgers 5 Diamondbacks 11  Dodgers 6 Diamondbacks 2 

After the Dodgers ended the series against the Diamondbacks, they headed to San Francisco for a four-game series against the Giants. Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched the first game and allowed only one run, but the Dodgers were unable to score, the story for most of the series. The Dodgers’ bats finally came alive in the tenth inning of game four when Andrew Toles hit an RBI single, starting a four-run rally. Cody Bellinger made his Major League debut in game two and has not missed a game since.

 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
 Dodgers 1 Giants 2 Dodgers 2 Giants 1 Dodgers 3 Giants 4 Dodgers 5 Giants 1

The Dodgers returned home to play the Phillies and their bats stayed hot. In game two, they were trailing 5-2 in the ninth inning but they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs tying the game, and Adrián González hit a walk-off single taking the game by a final score of 6-5. Hyun-Jin Ryu got his first win of the year in game three, he pitched 5.1 innings of one-run ball in the win.

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
 Phillies 3 Dodgers 5 Phillies 5 Dodgers 6 Phillies 3 Dodgers 5

The Dodgers concluded the month of April with a record of 14-12 and are currently on a 4-game winning streak. Below are the rankings for the National League West:

 W L % GB
 Colorado Rockies  16 10   .615 – 
 Arizona Diamondbacks  16 11  .593  .5 
 Los Angeles Dodgers  14 12  .538  2.0 
 San Diego Padres  11 16  .407  5.5 
 San Francisco Giants  9 17  .346  7.0 

Players Who Hit The DL:

  • Logan Forsythe – 10-day DL with a fractured right big toe. May return on May 5.
  • Franklin Gutierrez – 10-day DL with right hamstring tightness. May return on May 5.
  • Rich Hill – 10-day DL with a blister on left middle finger. May return in early May.
  • Joc Pederson – 10 day DL with a right groin strain. May return on May 5.

Other Big News:

  • Justin Turner is currently riding a 16-game hitting streak. He is hitting .404 on the year with one home run and eleven runs batted in.

September 2016 Recap

Last month ended with the Dodgers 1.5 games ahead of the Giants. They got the first day of September off, before the Padres came to town. In game 2, Rich Hill took a no-hitter into the 6th inning before Alexei Ramirez broke it up with a single. The Dodgers took the game by a score of 5-1. The Dodgers also took the third game 4-7 with Jose De Leon making a terrific first impression. The youngster pitched 6 innings allowing 4 runs (3 earned), on 5 hits.

The Padres left town and it was time for the Diamondbacks to enter. They sent out former Dodger, Zack Greinke, who was making his return to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers hit 5 home runs off of him handing him the loss by a final score of 10-2. Ross Stripling shut the D-backs down in game two, and Brock Stewart kept them quiet in game 3. The Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks in 3 games.

After the sweep of the D-backs the Dodgers got a day to travel to Miami, Where Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to make his return from the DL. The Marlins scored 3 runs off of Kershaw, and Jose Fernandez held the Dodgers to 1 run in the first game. In game 2, Rich Hill pitched 7 perfect innings before Dave Roberts made the tough decision to remove him from the game. The Dodgers took it by a final score of 5-1. The Marlins also held the Dodgers scoreless in the series finale.

After losing the series to the Marlins, it was time for the Dodgers to head to New York and play the Yankees. With a large amount of Dodgers fans along the left field line, the Dodgers put up an 8-2 victory over the Yanks. Jose De Leon followed his first career start with another solid outing, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner provided home runs to support the rookie. CC Sabathia shut the Dodgers down in game 2, but Clayton Kershaw would not allow it in the final game. Even though the game was delayed by rain, Kershaw dominated 6 innings, and late run support from Justin Turner gave the Dodgers the victory.

It was then time to travel to Arizona and play the Diamondbacks. The D-backs jumped on Rich Hill, giving him his first loss with the Dodgers. In game 2, Kenta Maeda and Zack Greinke got their rematch and both sides played good baseball. Greinke allowed 2 runs (1 earned), a Justin Turner RBI triple, as the Dodgers took the second game 2-0. The Dodgers took game 3, by a score of 6-2, with Joc Pederson hitting a 2-run home run that traveled 463 feet. The Diamondbacks took the last game by a score of 9-10 in 12 innings.

The Dodgers went home to greet the Giants for their final home stand of the regular season. Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner faced off and it looked like it would be a Giants victory. But a walk-off RBI double from Adrian Gonzalez gave the Dodgers the first game by a score of 2-1. Johnny Ceuto shut the Dodgers down in the second game, as San Francisco took it by a score of 2-0. The Dodgers scored 5 runs in the 1st inning, as they took the game by a score of 9-3.

The Giants went to San Diego and the Rockies came to Los Angeles, for the final series at Dodger Stadium. The weekend had many festivities honoring Vin Scully, the Dodgers legendary broadcaster.

The Dodgers took the first game by a score of 4-7, due to a Yasmani Grandal Grand Slam. In game 2, Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier hit back-to-back home runs, lifting the Dodgers to a 5-2 victory. With the magic number at 2, the Dodgers did everything in their power to clinch the division behind Clayton Kershaw. They beat the Rockies 14-1, but the Giants beat the Padres delaying the celebration by a day.

On September 25, 2016, the day all Dodgers fans had been waiting for arrived. After Corey Seager tied up the game, twice, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, propelling the Dodgers to their 4th straight division championship.

After getting the day of on Monday, the Dodgers went to San Diego where they lost the first game to the Padres, by a score of 7-1. The Padres also won the second game 5-6, but the Dodgers wouldn’t be swept. They took the series finale by a score of 9-4.

They next traveled to San Francisco for the final 3 games of the season. After what looked early like it would be an easy Dodgers victory, Brandon McCarthy allowed 6 runs without recording an out in the 6th inning. The Giants took the game 9-3.

  • More important occurrences:
  • Clayton Kershaw made his first rehab start
  • Rich Hill made his Dodgers debut
  • Jose De Leon made his Major League debut
  • Dodgers pound Greinke in return to Dodger Stadium
  • Clayton Kershaw makes his return from the DL
  • Fight between Yasiel Puig and Madison Bumgarner empties benches
  • Chase Utley win Roy Campenella award
  • Dodgers clinch the NL West with Charlie Culberson walk-off homer
  • Vin Scully calls final game at Dodger Stadium