The Dodgers finally snapped their 11-game losing streak but their division lead is down to single digits. Despite that, several players continue to thrive.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have dropped 16 out of their last 17 games dating back to August 26th against Milwaukee. In that time, there have been some players who obviously have not met expectations. The starting rotation hasn’t been great; the bullpen has gone back to its pre-Andrew Friedman days, and the offense has flat out been beat.
And yet, despite all of that and the chatter from critics around baseball, there are a few players that have put their noses to the grindstone and played great. It’s difficult to find a silver lining in this sort of losing streak that looks like a team spiraling out of control, but let’s give it a try:
Justin Turner- At one point, Turner was way ahead in the pack leading the batting average race. He hovered in the mid .360 range for a while, but a miserable July and August brought him back to earth. JT is still hitting a bit under .327, but that’s way off of his season start.
The upside is that lately, he seems to be finding his groove again. Since August 26th, Turner is hitting .290 with two home runs in 73 at-bats. Not exactly what Dodger fans have hoped for, but it will do.
He’s hit even better more recently, hitting .317 with two homers this month. JT is getting himself turned back in the right direction could be huge for the Dodgers getting back on track.
Ross Stripling- Perhaps one of the least talked about Dodgers, “Chicken Strip” has been a consistent force out of Dave Roberts’ bullpen lately. He has appeared in seven games since the 26th and has been all but perfect.
In 10 2/3 innings of work, Stripling has allowed two earned runs and struck out 12. He also only walked two batters in that span, while giving up just six hits total.
That is a WHIP of just 0.75 in a time where his team has needed him the most. Although his season stats might be so-so to some, Stripling has shown up at a time that may earn him a huge role come October.
Brandon Morrow- Morrow is another guy who could end up fighting for a larger role in October. What is most interesting about him, is that in his 38 appearances, Morrow has yet to allow a home run.
This will ultimately be a large part in determining how Roberts would like to use him in the playoffs. During the losing streak, Morrow appeared in six games, working 5 1/3 innings total. He allowed two earned runs, so it was actually a bit of a down period for him, as he has a 2.41 ERA on the year.
But Morrow has been consistent, striking out six and giving up five hits. The way Baez has been pitching, don’t be surprised to see him late in games fairly often down the stretch.
Andre Ethier- Ethier has played in just 25 games for the Dodgers dating back to the beginning of 2016. To put that in perspective, the newly-acquired Curtis Granderson has already logged 22 games for the team that traded for him in August.
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Ethier is in the final year of his contract, so you’d have to imagine he is dying to play and prove himself. Lately, he looks to be coming around.
Since his return at the start of September, Ethier has logged 14 at-bats with decent results. He has four hits, one of which was a home run. Ethier has proven himself to be a valuable hitter in the playoffs, and the team would certainly like to see him return to the lineup.
Tony Cingrani- Cingrani was one of many pitching acquisitions made at the trade deadline earlier in the year. With Grant Dayton and Adam Liberatore going down, left-handed relief was certainly needed.
Cingrani had a rough start but has done well as of late. He has appeared in nine games, throwing eight innings. Although he has mostly appeared to work against lefties, Cingrani held most batters in check during the miserable streak.
He only allowed one run and struck out 13 with one walk. Cingrani and Watson may both be competing for the same October spot.
Tony Watson- Like Cingrani, Watson was acquired in one of the deadline flurry moves. He was brought in to ensure that in some way shape or form, they would have left-handed relief in the playoffs.
Watson has done terrific so far, in competition with Cingrani. He has worked in 9 games as well, working 8 1/3 innings in the losing span. He has also given up just one earned run, so it will be interesting to see how the team uses them both down the stretch.
Losing sucks for any team, but especially when you’re so used to winning by a landslide. The Dodgers are still the same team they were at the start of the season, just with more experience under their belts. On paper, they should be better than they have been recently so you can never count them out. The team will turn it around, but hopefully before October comes.