After a slow start to the season the Los Angeles Dodgers (41-33) have turned things around and if the season were to end today they’d be one of the two wild card teams for the National League. The Dodgers are riding a hot streak 8-2 in the last 10 games having won 6 in a row going into Pittsburgh. Though the San Francisco Giants (47-27) are 9-1 in the last 10 games winners of their last three. Thus the Dodgers still trail the Giants in the NL west by 6 games. It is an “even numbered year” so if history repeats itself the Giants will win it all. The Dodgers will need to continue playing solid and improve their head to head match-ups with said Giants. For a team with such high expectations not to mention such a high payroll it can be said they’re under performing. The Dodgers need to focus on winning baseball games. Clubhouse chemistry has been an issue in the past and we’ll see this year if new manager Dave Roberts can steer the ship in the right direction. Roberts held firm when the team was playing poorly and one of the reasons he was hired was due to his leadership and ability to be cool under pressure.
The pressure is definitely on for the Dodgers having been eliminated in back to back National League championship series. Phenomenal pitching is keeping the Dodgers in the hunt like most years. With the staff currently sitting with a 3.32 era third best in the majors trailing only the New York Mets (3.19) and Chicago Cubs (2.76). Though if their star players don’t start playing like it they’ll find themselves out of the playoffs sooner if not entirely. Adrian Gonzalez (.267) is not looking like the player he was in years past. He is hitting 20 points below his career average but more importantly only has 6 home runs on the season. The silver lining for Gonzalez is he still has managed to drive in 32 runs. The Dodgers will need his “A” game if they’re to advance to the World Series this year. Though it is not only Gonzalez who has seen his numbers drop. Yasiel Puig is hitting only .244 with 5 home runs. Which does not make up for all his strikeouts; 45 in 55 games played. Not having a good year could be said for many other Dodger hitters. The Dodgers overall are 27th in the majors, hitting .235 collectively. Lower, believe it or not, than their neighbors to the south the San Diego Padres (31-43). A team that didn’t score a run until the 4th game of the season.
The Dodgers do have some players who are performing better or as expected. The indomitable Clayton Kershaw (11-1 1.57) has anchored the rotation. When things were bad early this season, the team could count on him to snap them out of a losing streak. Kenley Jansen (3-2 1.48) has blown three saves thus far but has been solid overall. It’s best this happens early in the season and not the post season. The brightest star for the Dodgers has to be rookie Corey Seager. Seager is a leading candidate for rookie of the year hitting .289 and belting 16 home runs while leading the Dodgers with 37 runs batted in.
Seager and Kershaw cannot do it all on their own. The Dodgers need Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal (.192), A.J. Ellis (.191.) and Joc Pederson (.239) to start playing a lot better. This may be an “even numbered year” but the Dodgers don’t have just the Giants to worry about. They also have to look out for the Chicago Cubs (47-24) and Washington Nationals (43-30). Will it be the year the Cubs escape the curse? Will it be another one in the books for the Giants? Or will the Nationals and Dodgers mix things up. If you’re a Dodgers fan you can only hope this current streak is a sign of more sunny days ahead.