Many have been quick to bury the Dodgers hopes for 2018. Disappointing sophomore seasons and an avalanche of injuries have been followed by calls for trades, promotions, demotions, and even the firing of LA skipper Dave Roberts. Its been about as bad as things could possibly get, but is all hope officially lost?
This has been the worst start for your LA Dodgers in recent memory. Scratch that, all of memory. That’s because the Dodgers recently matched their worst start through 40 games since moving to LA, and then lost two more to the meager Marlins. After Friday’s game was rained out, the Dodgers will take on a multi-talented Nationals team in a double header Saturday. Making things worse, LA will face Max Scherzer in one of those games, followed by Stephen Strasburg the next day. Things aren’t going so well.
So bad in fact, some are stating that all hope is officially lost for this season. Dustin Nosler notes that the bullpen could very well do the team in, and to be fair, the pen has been worse than anyone could have ever expected. The bullpen currently ranks 24th in ERA and has given up the second most home runs this year. The team attempted to replace Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow, with Scott Alexander, depth, and a pet project or two they found in the recycling bin. Saying they’ve received mixed results would be generous. Even Kenley Jansen is having the worst year of his career.
The dreaded sophomore slump has zapped the majority of the production we are accustomed to seeing from Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes, with both players still hitting under .250. Yasiel Puig has been generally abysmal. With his power missing and defense only getting worse, Joc Pederson seems to have officially earned the “bust” label.
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The days of Rich Hill being an effective pitcher could be coming to an end. Cody Bellinger hasn’t been terrible, but he isn’t the same player the city of LA fell in love with last year. To be fair, it’s not all the Dodger’s fault. Usually, when a team loses their three best players (Turner, Seager, Kershaw) like LA has for an extended time, bad things will happen.
The truth is, without any consistently reliable arms in the bullpen, LA is probably done. However, there may be some hope on the horizon as reinforcements could soon be inbound. Tony Cingrani and Julio Urias effectively coming back from the D.L. and throwing BB’s would be a huge boost to the pen. If Andrew Toles can ever make it back from a hamstring injury, he has shown the talent to displace the disappointing Joc Pederson.
Brock Stewart being given an honest shot could give the pen a solid right-handed middle reliever they so desperately need. The arrival of Justin Turner plus Clayton Kershaw returning in the next couple of weeks won’t hurt either. If the division is out of reach, the Dodgers could still have a shot at a Wild Card spot as lame as that sounds. I’m not quite ready to bury LA, but I’m getting close.
The fact remains, however, if the team doesn’t start playing better together as a whole, a couple of reinforcements won’t solve all their problems. They have a plethora of problems to choose from, but it starts with the bullpen. If the pen and team, in general, don’t improve now,(and I meant last week), then LA could become sellers at the trade deadline in anticipation of the upcoming free agent bonanza. Rightfully so, as not even Manny Machado could save this team, they way they’ve started the season.