Dodgers Don’t Show Full Potential in a Rare Successful April
The Dodgers have had a strong April as they stand seven games over 500 entering the final game of April. Despite that, the Dodgers have not yet put it all together.
The Dodgers and April have not been the best of friends. Last year the Dodgers were 12-16 after the month of April and over the last three seasons combined, the Dodgers are 38-41 when April comes to a close. This season, the Dodgers have gotten off to a quietly strong start as they stand seven games over five hundred at 19-12.
Not many anticipated a strong start given that the Dodgers are traditionally slow starters and the opening month had a tough schedule. The Dodgers played the bulk of their April games against the NL Central including seven games against the Brewers who took the Dodgers to seven games in the 2018 NLCS.
Although record wise it looks like the Dodgers have had a strong opening month, it hasn’t felt like they have played well to have that kind of record even with Cody Bellinger seemingly hitting everything in striking distance of the plate. The team has not even been at full strength as Clayton Kershaw missed a couple of weeks and Rich Hill made his season debut on Sunday.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager, the middle of the Dodgers’ order, have not gotten off to good start. While Justin Turner’s getting on base at a nice rate with his .374 OBP, he has gotten off to a slow start power wise with no home runs and a .676 OPS. Corey Seager is having a similar kind of start with a slugging percentage under .400 and just two home runs.
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Then there is A.J. Pollock who has had a bizarre start to his season. Despite hitting just .223, Pollock has fourteen RBI’s and has hit a modest .250 with runners in scoring position. As usual, A.J. has played solid defense, giving the Dodgers an outfield full of range when Verdugo and Bellinger play the corners.
On the pitching side of things, Joe Kelly and Walker Buehler have gotten off to slow starts. Buehler had a shortened spring training due to an apparent dead arm period and has posted an ERA over five through five starts. Kelly was signed to be a shutdown setup man, but he has had a rough start pitching to an ERA of 9.00.
Despite going ten for eleven in save opportunities, Kenley Jansen is another Dodger who has had an odd start to the 2019 season. Kenley has allowed three home runs in fourteen plus innings. For comparison, in his dominant 2017 season, he allowed five home runs all year. Jansen has also been missing location and just about every save has been a wild adventure.
Although the Dodgers have had one of their best Aprils in years, the team has yet to hit that stretch where it feels like they are unbeatable. The Dodgers usually hit their hot streak in June or July and once this team does, we may see another historic run as this 2019 Dodger team is still as talented as any other team in baseball.