3 reasons why the Dodgers are still World Series contenders and 2 why they're not

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages
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Not contending No. 2: The bullpen is awful this year

Entering Tuesday, the Dodgers bullpen currently has the second-worst ERA (5.04) in all of baseball, above only the Oakland A's, who only just recently started to look like an actual professional baseball team.

For any club with postseason and World Series aspirations, such a horrendous earned run average can't possibly fly. Dodgers relievers have allowed the opposition to post a league-leading .257 batting average, third-worst .319 BABIP, and are currently the owners of the fifth-worst HR/9 rate in the league.

For what it's worth, it's not that the entire unit has been awful this year. Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol and Caleb Ferguson have all begun to see high-leverage situations and have all earned save chances as of late. The three hurlers all have ERA+'s over 129, with Phillips at 197 and Graterol at 186.

Outside of that trio, Shelby Miller (of all people) has been respectable on the mound, if not a bit too lucky. His 2.40 ERA and 186 ERA+ look nice on paper, but his 4.51 FIP suggests that he may be due for a regression in the near future.

Beyond this group, things have not been pretty. At all. The currently-injured Phil Bickford has made 23 appearances (for some reason) and has a 7.33 ERA thanks to 22 earned runs in just 27 innings of work. He has been striking out guys at a rapid pace, but he can't for the life of him keep the opposition off the scoreboard. Ditto for other relievers like Alex Vesia, who has also been lit up like a Christmas tree in 22 outings this year.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, there's plenty of room for improvement and plenty of potential trade chips out there for them to bring aboard at the deadline. In case players like Bickford and Vesia don't bounce back, look for this relief pitching corps to look much, much different post-deadline.