The Dodgers couldn’t halt their losing streak and lost their sixth consecutive game.
Sometimes, teams find a really fun and creative way to lose a ballgame every day and that’s slightly entertaining. Look at the Giants. They lost yesterday by giving up a 12-spot in the third inning, and then lost today when their ninth inning comeback fell short. It’s two losses, but at least it’s some sort of entertainment.
The Dodgers have lost six straight games, and they all sort of look the same. Starting pitching does decently, but one bad inning does them in. Dodgers get runners on base, Dodgers leave runners on base. Rinse and repeat.
This time it was Ross Stripling, who turned in another shorter-than-needed outing. He allowed a pair of runs on three well-hit doubles in the third inning and was looking on his way to a quality start, as he struck out the first two batters he faced in the fifth. He followed that up with a pair of walks, and cleanup hitter Melvin Upton Jr. doubled both of the walks in. Alexei Ramirez followed that up with an RBI single, and the Padres had an insurmountable five runs.
As is the trend, the Dodgers offense got a jolt as Chase Utley hit a two-run homer in the third to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Dodgers couldn’t get much else going on offense. As I’ve said way too many times this week, a lot of it has to do with terrible approaches at the plate. Guys are getting pitches to hit, they’re just not doing much with it. When they do get a hold of one, they find gloves. Joc Pederson destroyed two pitches in this game, and it resulted in three outs.
There are two ways to look at this losing streak. In my opinion, this stretch has occured because of the silent bats of Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig. Puig is a bit of a wildcard, so we’re gonna throw him out here. When it comes to Gonzalez and Kendrick, you can either be optimistic or pessimistic.
Gonzalez and Kendrick are two of the most consistent players in baseball and have been throughout their respective careers. Turner has been great in his last two seasons (mainly due to high BABIPs), so while regression isn’t all that surprising, he just looks lost right now. If you choose to be optimistic, you can just say that Gonzo and Kendrick are going through incredibly rough stretches, but we all know they’re going to finish the season around .280. Gonzo probably won’t have many stretches where he gets a hit on a Sunday, and doesn’t get his next hit until the following Sunday (hopefully). Kendrick started the season on the DL and has been highly ineffective since he’s been back, so if he’s going to get back up to the .280 range, he’ll probably catch fire soon enough.
If I know Dodger fans, most of the thought will be pessimistic. Gonzalez will be 34 in less than a month and Kendrick will be 33 in June. If Kendrick struggles, at least the Dodgers have like 46 second basemen. However, Gonzalez is probably the single most valuable position-player on the team. If he struggles, the Dodgers don’t really have another first baseman (Utley can kinda handle it, Scott Van Slyke when healthy, Cody Bellinger?). If this is the start of Gonzalez’s downfall, this might be a more painful season than anyone could have anticipated.
These last six games have, in a word, sucked. There’s not really another way to put it. The offense has been nonexistent, and in the rare event that they get a lead, the bullpen blows it. Not exactly a winning combination. At the same time, the Dodgers are still tied atop the NL West. While they’re certainly not playing like division champions right now, no other team is taking advantage of it. A slump like this is bound to end at some point (it’s a slump, if you genuinely think the Dodgers are THIS bad nothing can really help you), so if the Dodgers can stay in front of the other teams (or at least in striking distance), the law of averages should play out.
It’s tough, but no team has ever won or lost a division on April 30th. See you all in May. And hey, Luke Walton!