Back-to-back embarrassing Dodgers losses highlight need for big trade deadline

The Dodgers had a chance to gain big ground in the NL West ... and then they blew it.

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Dodgers
Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers are having a very good year, but the roster holes are as clear as day to the average baseball fan. Their starting pitching and bullpen badly need reinforcements and the defense needs to be tightened up a bit.

Both of those unredeeming qualities were unearthed on Sunday and Monday, when the Dodgers failed to finish the job against the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays in agonizing fashion.

In Texas on Sunday, the Dodgers were going for a series sweep and held a 4-0 lead in the first inning after a Max Muncy grand slam. After the best start humanly possible, the Dodgers scored zero more runs, went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and watched Emmet Sheehan surrender eight runs on eight hits and five walks in only 3.2 innings of work.

Two nights prior, if not for an offensive explosion against the Rangers' bullpen, Tony Gonsolin once again would've been in the crosshairs for another underwhelming start (four earned runs on two hits and three walks in five innings).

Then came Monday night, when the Dodgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, only to squander it, then tie the game at 3-3 in the eighth. After that pivot point, they failed to score with a runner in scoring position three times in the final four innings. They lost 6-3 when the defense let them down in the 11th.

Dodgers' losses to Rangers, Blue Jays highlight need for big trade deadline

Let's clarify that this is far from the end of the world, but the team probably wants to figure out how to keep Mookie Betts in right field more often (Jason Heyward's diving blunder on Daulton Varsho that resulted in a bases-clearing double makes that obvious) and reconfigure the infield. The status quo at the moment will surely hurt them when postseason baseball arrives.

Muncy got the night off from playing third base, and in his stead Yonny Hernandez went 0-for-2 and Chris Taylor (57 career games at the hot corner) made a throwing error in the 11th to put Phil Bickford in a terrible spot. The Dodgers are lacking athleticism in the corner outfield spots, as well as whatever combination of second, shortstop and third base they trot out on a nightly basis.

Because even if Miguel Rojas is playing top-notch defense, his bat is a liability. Muncy hasn't been great at third base. The Dodgers have no "real" solution at second, because even playing Taylor a bit more in the middle infield compromises the offense. Betts has been a breath of fresh air filling the gaps, but again, his presence there is not a long-term solution. It exposes the Dodgers elsewhere, because Heyward and David Peralta are not the everyday duo you want out there in October.

Getting Betts back in right field. should be a priority. That'll coincide with an infielder being targeted at the deadline, which, in turn, would immediately improve the Dodgers' depth. The premier focus should still remain on the pitching, but there have been far too many lapses with their position players to overlook that glaring need.

LA had a very opportune chance to extend the division lead in the NL West, as the Diamondbacks have dropped five straight while the Giants have lost six in a row. The four-game lead is still comfortable, but when it could just as easily be six games, there's a reason to be kicking yourself.