Dodgers: Another Slow Start Seems Likely for the Dodgers
The Dodgers have gotten off to slow starts in recent seasons. Given the schedule and what has transpired this spring, another slow start is a big possibility.
Over the past couple of seasons, it has become a tradition that the Dodgers get off to a slow start before heating up around June. Last season was the extreme version of it as the Dodgers were eleven games under 500 at one point and it took them 163 games to win the NL West. That was because of the losses of Justin Turner and Corey Seager due to injuries.
Looking back at the last several seasons, the Dodgers were 12-16 after April of 2018 with a few games coming in March. They went 14-12 in April of 2017 and it took a three-game winning streak to end the month to get the Dodgers over 500. In 2016, the Dodgers went 12-13 in April and this season is shaping up to another slow start in Los Angeles.
With Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw looking unlikely to be ready for opening day, the Dodgers are going to be without their two best starting pitchers to begin the season in all likelihood. Corey Seager appears to be progressing towards a return on opening day but the possibility exists that he is not ready at the start of the season. Between now and the opener we should find out more on his progress.
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Then there is the main reason that the Dodgers will likely get off to another slow April start and that is their schedule. In April, the Dodgers play the much improved National League Central. That includes seven games against the Brewers, four games against the Cardinals, and three games against the Cubs. Eleven of those games will come on the road with a four-game series in St. Louis where the Dodgers usually struggle, and another four-game series in Milwaukee.
For a team with a track record of starting off slow in recent years, that is a brutal schedule that will send the Dodgers up against three playoff contenders. Even the revamped Reds could be a wild card contender and give the Dodgers some trouble as they did last season when their team was not as strong. The odd schedule does have the Dodgers playing the Padres in the first month of the season.
If the Dodgers went five hundred in the first month of the season that would be a very good thing considering the strength of the schedule and their usual slow start. The second half schedule is much easier but in order to get there in a good position to win the NL West for a seventh consecutive season, the Dodgers need to weather the storm in the first half of the season, including a very tough April schedule.