There was a time, way back when, when the Los Angeles Dodgers were challenging not only for NL West supremacy but the best record in all of Major League Baseball’s illustrious history.
Can you smell it? Can you smell the ink being spilled by Bill Plaschke about how this team might blitz the league to the tune of 126 wins?
It was just a few weeks ago, but it all feels so distant now.
Thanks to a cavalcade of injuries, the Dodgers still look like a good-to-great team most nights, and they have the depth to absorb several punishing blows. Instead of running and hiding in the National League, though, they’re keeping pace with the Giants and Padres, one enemy they anticipated and one they thought they’d left in the dust.
Along the way in a 162-game season, even the greatest teams are bound to be hampered by injuries, both short- and long-term, both mysterious and immediately diagnosed.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers have been hit by a flurry of both varieties all at once.
Prior to Monday’s game, Los Angeles underwent another massive roster shuffle, sending David Price to the IL with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, activating Gavin Lux, and moving several ancillary pieces back and forth to the Alternate Site.
It’s tough to find any form of consistency without the majority of your stars, and it’s tough to hold down an opposing offense when half your pitching depth isn’t pitching. All things considered — and with all due respect to several other injuries — these three maladies have been the most impactful thus far.
These 3 Dodgers injuries have hurt the most in April 2021.
3. Zach McKinstry
The Dodgers did not know what an essential piece they were bringing to the bigs when they promoted utility man Zach McKinstry following an impressive spring training showing.
In 17 games at the big league level — spent at second, third, left and right — McKinstry slashed .296/.328/.556 with a 144 OPS+ that papered over many of the roster’s other emerging issues.
Unfortunately, just as soon as he arrived, he vanished yet again. McKinstry was supposed to be a do-everything bat in the Chris Taylor mold who could’ve covered for the early absences of the team’s stars like Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. Regrettably, he’s now on the shelf for the medium-term battling an oblique strain, perhaps the most undefinable injury in baseball. Will it be a month? Two months? We just don’t know, and we won’t be welcoming him back until it all “feels right.” Nebulous ’til the end.
McKinstry’s absence has also led to more playing time for Edwin Rios, a similarly young utility bat who’s also … 4-42 on the year and 0-for-his-last-21. This team absolutely misses McKinstry’s versatility and the way he allows their bigger names to struggle without the group missing a beat.