It’s not a good time to be the Los Angeles Dodgers or anyone associated with them, and everyone should be concerned at this stage. The team fell to the Colorado Rockies 9-1 last night, its seventh loss in a row. Ace Clayton Kershaw lasted just 3.2 innings and allowed four runs on six hits despite striking out seven.
Even worse is that the Dodgers have lost 12 of their last 13 games. They still have baseball’s best record at 92-48 and hold a 10 game lead in the NL West, but this is not the time for a playoff caliber team to suddenly go cold.
Simply put, Los Angeles has to get it together to ensure a deep playoff run, and fast.
What’s eating the Dodgers?
The primary problem appears to be that the Dodgers’ offense has just gone to sleep. Los Angeles has been outscored 74-28 during this cold streak and it doesn’t help that a key player in Corey Seager has been out recently with an elbow issue and Yasiel Puig is batting just .250 with no home runs this month. Catcher Yasmani Grandal is also hitting just .180 since August 1 and the newly acquired Curtis Granderson has batted a lowly .097 since coming over from the New York Mets last month.
The lack of run support has not helped the pitching either, though Los Angeles still leads the majors with a staff ERA of 3.33. Either way, something needs to change, and fast.
The silver lining
The good news for the Dodgers is that, like any championship contender, there is still hope. Enough regular season is left that the ship can be righted and that a World Series run is still in the cards.
One can’t help but think of the 2000 New York Yankees, who had a cold streak around the same time of that particular season. The Bronx Bombers were 13-18 in September of that year and ended the regular season on a seven-game losing streak. They still managed to win the AL East, but a deep playoff run was not looking at all likely.
Except the Yankees went on to beat the Oakland A’s in a close, five-game ALDS and then the talented Seattle Mariners in the ALCS before defeating the New York Mets in what has come to be called the Subway Series. In spite of a late-season cold streak, New York was able to win its third World Series in a row and fourth championship in five years.
Thus, there’s hope for the Dodgers yet in spite of their own struggles.
It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers have had to face the following teams during their current rough stretch: a San Diego Padres squad that is out to play spoiler for any and all contenders, a red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks team that has won 13 in a row, and Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies squads that are both fighting for playoff spots.
The future doesn’t get any easier after the current series with Colorado, with the always-difficult Washington Nationals coming up in a week. Facing teams in the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies should provide something of a reprieve, but it’s important for the Dodgers to just stay focused.
Even if the cold streak never goes away completely, the Dodgers still have a chance. Their destiny, however, is up to them and at this point, it’s hard to see them getting over the early-exit hump.
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