Los Angeles Dodgers: April by the Numbers
By Jamaal Artis
The Los Angeles Dodgers have finished the month of April giving their fans a glimpse of the good, the bad, and the ugly. As the defending World Series champions for the first time in 32 years and playing in front of fans for the first time since October of 2019, just getting on the field was a welcome sight after the tumultuous year in 2020.
The Dodgers seemed not to miss a beat, however, showing everyone they were still the best team in baseball, rattling off a 13-2 record in their first 15 games, which was the best start a season for a defending champion. After that, though, the wheels fell off and the team proceeded to finish the month 3-9, losing their first series since August of 2019.
The 162-game baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint, but with the Dodgers, it’s more like a rollercoaster with its ups and downs. Unfortunately they took us all for a ride in April, and these numbers prove it.
The Good: 2.74
Before the season started, the Dodgers were expected to carry a the league’s best pitching staff, which was set to boast three former Cy Young winners (Clayton Kershaw, David Price, and this past winter’s biggest free-agent signing, Trevor Bauer). Coupled with young talented arms in Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Dustin May, the starters posted a 2.74 ERA to start the season.
Kershaw, Bauer, and May all finished the month with ERAs below 2.60, as the rotation produced 18 quality starts.
The staff used the strikeout to rack up a 12-5 record after fanning 187 batters for a 10.3 K/9 rate. Bauer started the season with 10 strikeouts in each of his first two starts for the team, and Urias, Buehler, and May each reached double digits once, with May and Urias throwing for career highs for a game.
The Bad: .177
During their 3-9 skid to finish the month, the Dodgers bats went silent. Over those 12 games the Dodgers scored one run four times, going 1-3 in those contests, and also went 2-5 in games decided by one run.
The Dodgers’ anemic offense hit just .177 over the last two weeks of the month, and for some ungodly reason hit just .167 with runners on second and third with zero outs! How is that possible?! Batters produced just a .593 OPS during the skid and the team averaged 2.8 runs per game over that stretch.
The Dodgers are in the midst of a terrible hitting slump during which just two runs from their opposition can make a deficit insurmountable.
The Ugly: 7
Part of the reason the Dodgers have struggled lately is because of a string of injuries. The Dodgers have put seven players on the injured list, five of which came in the last week.
The lineup has struggled without Cody Bellinger, who suffered a hairline fracture after he was accidentally spiked against the Oakland Athletics. Bullpen pieces Brudsdar Gaterol, Joe Kelly, and David Price have all missed games, depleting a bullpen that’s been suspect to start the year.
The Dodgers had relatively good health during their World Series-winning season, but it’s already looking like the 2021 campaign will be an uphill battle. It’ll hopefully all turn around, but man, April did not end on a good note for the defending champs.