The Dodgers had Many Bright Spots in an Impressive Week

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 16: Hyun-Jin Ryu
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 16: Hyun-Jin Ryu /

Week four told us a lot about the Dodgers. They can still beat the teams they are supposed to beat (three-game sweep of the lowly Padres), and they can still compete with the best teams in baseball (winning two of three against the Nationals). But there were other things we learned about the team this week.

  • The Dodgers can still score. During a 5-1 week, L.A. outscored its opponents, 40-18.

Granted, 30 of those runs came against the Padres, but San Diego had the 12th best team earned run average (3.86) through Sunday’s games, so take that for whatever it’s worth. (The Dodgers had the 10th best team ERA at 3.53 through Sunday).

One worrisome issue still is the Dodgers ability (or inability) to hit with runners in scoring position. Even though they scored ten runs Monday, they had only eight hits – not usually a recipe for success.

Through Sunday, the Dodgers were 14th in baseball in hitting with runners in scoring position (42-for-164, .256). Even worse, they were 21st in baseball with two outs and RISP (15-for-75, .200).

Saturday against Stephen Strasburg was the most glaring highlight (lowlight?) of this. With the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth and the Dodgers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Messrs. Bellinger, Pederson and Kemp each struck out swinging.

On a brighter note, however, through Sunday, the Dodgers were fifth in baseball (13-for-33, .394) with a runner at third and less than two outs.

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu just might be back. He went 2-0 last week and has allowed two runs combined in his last 19 innings pitched.

Ryu opened the week for the Dodgers by striking out nine Padres over six innings in a 10-3 victory, allowing three hits without a walk. He finished his week Saturday against the Nationals with an even more impressive outing: seven innings, two hits, no runs, three walks and eight more strikeouts, giving him 17 for the week.

Ryu is now 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.88 WHIP and has struck out eight or more in three consecutive starts. (Sounds like NL Pitcher of the Week credentials for sure.)

  • Despite having played in 18 of the team’s 20 games through Sunday, it would appear that Joc Pederson isn’t long for the Major League roster.
  • Matt Kemp can still hit the long ball in San Diego, blasting his second home run of the year and going 2-for-2 Monday to raise his average to .333.
  • Dodgers pitchers struck out 45 Padres in the series, and the Dodgers are now 41-19 against San Diego since 2015.
  • Cody Bellinger is an on-base machine, grinding out two walks and singling Monday to raise his on-base percentage to .355.
  • Breyvic Valera is fun to say. Try it: BRAY-Vick Vah-lair-ah
  • Max Muncy is almost as fun to say as Breyvic Valera.
  • Alex Wood is clearly over his food poisoning. (I still find it quite odd that it happened in San Francisco. Hmmm.) He allowed one baserunner through five innings Tuesday, a one-out infield single in the second inning. He struggled a bit against the Nats on Sunday, but he kept the team in the game long enough for the comeback victory.

Speaking of that victory, the 3-0 deficit the Dodgers found themselves in after five and a half innings appeared to anyone watching like it was going to be another humdrum affair. But the Dodgers scratched back for three runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead.

Closer Kenley Jansen was a little shaky in the ninth but ramped up the mph after the first two batters reached. As the ninth inning progressed with a one-run lead, Jansen reached back and found a few extra miles per hour on his cutter, having started the inning at 90 mph and finished at 94.

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What else did we learn this week?

  • Pedro Baez can still chuck it. He struck out all four batters he faced Tuesday, touching 95 five times in striking out all four batters he faced. On Sunday, he hit 95 five times and 96 three times in two-thirds of an inning with a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, there’s still no defense against a walk.
  • Kemp is almost making me think he’s the 2011 MVP-caliber Kemp. Through Sunday, he was tied for the team lead with three home runs, second with 10 RBIs, second in batting average (.321), second in slugging (.547), and second in OPS (.909).
  • Baseball is still the most awesome sport on the planet. Chris Taylor struck out four times Wednesday, then reached base four times Friday.
  • Bellinger is now one for six on his bobble head night over two seasons, including a home run Saturday.
  • Sunday’s comeback from a 3-0 deficit was impressive considering the team still isn’t hitting a lot of home runs. The Dodgers have 19 total home runs this season. Only five teams have hit less.

Next: The Dodgers two energy bats are awakening

After Sunday, the Dodgers, for the first time since they were 2-2 after the season-opening series against the Giants, were at .500 again!