The 2018 season has gone awry for the Los Angeles Dodgers in almost every conceivable way. Things didn’t get any better after suffering a four-game sweep at home to the otherwise futile Cincinnati Reds.
Not long ago, I wrote an article about why Dodgers’ fans shouldn’t be overly worried yet about the state of the 2018 Dodgers. Moreover, fans should even be excited as long as the Dodgers are treading water, given all the injuries that have plagued the team. That article can be found here.
All of those projections were based on the idea that the Dodgers would tread water in the absence of those more important pieces, like Clayton Kershaw, among others. After the weekend series, though, I tweeted that perhaps I should reconsider those points of view. A four-game sweep by the Reds, at home no less, showed the downfall of this year’s Dodgers to an undeniable point. I can sometimes be relentlessly optimism at times, but this is cause for concern.
Upon reviewing the rankings of every Major League Baseball team for stats such as Runs Scored, OPS, ERA, etc., the Dodgers are consistently ranked in a place that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the fans. In terms of Runs Scored, the Dodgers rank 16th in all of baseball with 171, nearly as average a place as a team can be. With 36 home runs, LA ranks 26th in all of baseball, and that has contributed to a .707 OPS, which is good for 21st in baseball.
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It doesn’t get much better on the pitching side of things, either. 13th in ERA, the Dodgers have an ERA of 3.97, which overall isn’t awful, but it’s not a way to win games and get to the playoffs. The staff also has a .255 Batting Average Against mark, which is also good for 13th in baseball. If the offense was performing, then this might not be so much of a concern, but for a team where the offense has struggled to get anything notable going, this is a problem.
At 16-24, the Dodgers are eight games back of the division leading Diamondbacks, and that disparity seemingly continues to grow by the day. Arizona has been struggling, going 3-7 in their last 10 and losing five in a row, but the Dodgers haven’t done much to make up ground. Los Angeles is also 3-7 in the last 10, losing four straight (again, to Cincinnati, no less).
What’s strange is that the Dodgers record on the road (8-11) is somewhat manageable at this point, so long as the team is winning at home, but that’s not the case. The team has played more games at Dodger Stadium, and that’s resulted in a worse record at home versus on the road, at 8-13. The Dodgers will have a chance to begin to right the ship with a midweek series in Miami against the Marlins.
In terms of record, the Dodgers have been well below average to this point, but I still don’t expect that to continue. What I do expect, though, is a reflection of the stats mentioned at the top of the article: this team is average. Still only a quarter of the way through the season, the Dodgers technically have time, but if that division deficit reaches double digits, it will be very hard to rebound. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps due to injuries, and failure to reach individual talent potential, the 2018 incarnation of the Los Angeles Dodgers is average.