Dodgers: NL West should be terrified LAD is on the mend from injuries

Thomas Carannante
Oct 25, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger (35) reacts after hitting an RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning during game five of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger (35) reacts after hitting an RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning during game five of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers started 13-2. Then then went on a dreadful 5-15 run. Now? They’re back. They’ve won 11 of their last 12 and are just a half-game out of the division lead.

That was fast.

In the end, LA simply adjusted after they were struck by what felt like endless injuries. Their bullpen has been decimated. Dustin May was lost for the year three weeks ago. The lineup, for the better part of a month, has had a lot of new faces in the mix.

Now, there’s some semblance of normalcy.

Max Muncy is tearing the cover off the ball. Gavin Lux is finding his footing. Chris Taylor continues to deliver. Matt Beaty and Albert Pujols have injected some much-needed life at times.

The starting rotation continues to tear apart opposing lineups despite not having someone to fill in at the No. 5 spot for almost a month now. This should be a warning to the rest of the NL West … because now the Dodgers are set to get a number of key contributors back.

The Dodgers are about to get a lot of key players back from injury.

Remember Cody Bellinger? Wouldn’t his return to the lineup be just what the doctor ordered? A left-handed power bat to further make opposing pitchers’ lives difficult in addition to his presence in center field preventing the Dodgers from rotating guys in the outfield will restore order.

Bellinger’s only played in four games this year thanks to the hairline fracture he suffered in his leg during the series against the Oakland Athletics. Expect him back next week when LA has six games against the Cardinals and Braves.

As for the pitching front, fans can expect some more stabilization in the rotation and bullpen. Bring us Baseball America Rookie of the Year Tony Gonsolin, please!

Gonsolin, who hit the IL in early April due to a shoulder issue, has been working his way back and building up his arm strength to return as a starter (he began the year in the bullpen after being bumped by May and Julio Urias).

The right-hander has already proven he can be a capable starter after his first two MLB seasons, logging a 2.33 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 14 starts. Though May is certainly a more intriguing option to have in the back end of the rotation, Gonsolin’s presence will still help maintain LA’s pedigree among their starters.

And finally, the bullpen arm every fan has been wanting to see further develop!

Graterol has had a tough go of things in 2021. He battled COVID-19, got a late start to spring training, and then hit the IL because of forearm tightness. Thankfully, he’s progressing smoothly and could be back within the next 10 days if everything goes according to plan.

With only 34.1 career innings under his belt since debuting in 2019, however, the Dodgers will likely continue to be careful with the 22-year-old. Either way, his return will help stabilize a bullpen that’s been a bit all over the place for more than a month.

What’s even crazier? After these guys get back on track, we can look forward to the returns of Corey Seager, Zach McKinstry, Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson and AJ Pollock.

The Dodgers have proven they can remain afloat without some of their top contributors. When everyone’s back? The Padres and Giants are going to get a hefty dose of the reigning World Series champs.

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