Dodgers: 4 takeaways from the first 4 weeks of the MLB season
MLB Opening Day 2023 was Thursday, March 30. That means that the season has now officially been through its first four weeks. While that may not be enough time to figure out who will be in the World Series this year -- or even who will be in the playoffs -- it's a big enough sample size to start drawing some conclusions.
In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's a mixed bag. That'll happen when your roster undergoes significant offseason alterations.
The Dodgers saw many players leave the organization since November, so it hasn't been easy patching up every last hole/void. Los Angeles holds a 13-13 record, good enough for second place in the NL West.
Worse things have happened, but this isn't a Dodgers team that looks built to win 95-plus games. What's contributed to the early, uninspiring output? And can it be fixed? There are positives, too. What are they, though? A month in, here's where the Dodgers stand.
Players missing games has heavily impacted this season
While James Outman and Freddie Freeman have played in all 26 games so far, the same cannot be said for any other player on the roster. Miguel Rojas and Will Smith have only played in 11 games each, and while some games Smith missed were rest days, he was placed on the IL back on April 16 and has remained there since. J.D. Martinez missed the entirety of the Dodgers' most recent series in Pittsburgh with back tightness, while Max Muncy missed the series on the paternity list. The Dodgers lost two of three in Pittsburgh, and other than an eight-run performance in Tuesday's series opener, the Dodgers' offense looked weak without their third, fourth and fifth hitters from the Opening Day lineup.
When it comes to the pitching staff, unfortunately, players missing games has also been the story of the year. From the onset of the season, injuries to Tony Gonsolin and Ryan Pepiot forced Michael Grove to take over as the fifth starter. Even though Julio Urías is off to a slow start, the trio of Urías, Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May have combined for a 3.29 ERA in 93 innings (16 starts) through Thursday's action. Gonsolin made his season debut against Pittsburgh and posted a 3.1-inning shutout. But Noah Syndergaard (who will now be the fifth starter in the rotation), and Michael Grove (who is now on the injured list) have combined for a 7.29 ERA in 42 innings (nine starts). Making matters worse for the pitching staff, the bullpen has struggled as well without the presence of Blake Treinen, Alex Reyes, Daniel Hudson and more key contributors (more on this specific unit later).