Culver City Observer -

The Dodgers' Playoff Chances Are Diminishing


When the baseball season began I observed that the Dodgers would have trouble in 2016.

They had been outbid for the elite pitchers who had become free agents. They spent a lot of money on foreign players who would likely require several years of minor league experience. New ownership had apparently decided to concentrate on building for the future rather than going all out for a World Series berth this season.

I'm not saying this is bad strategy. But I find it strange that ownership of a team in Los Angeles would back off from an all out effort to win especially after it replaced a manager who'd given them three straight division titles.

Don Mattingly hadn't guided the Dodgers into a World Series and he now manages the team in Miami.

But in the middle of June it looks like the Dodgers won't even qualify for the playoffs this season.

When they lost two of three games to the Giants last weekend and followed with a loss to the Diamondbacks in Arizona Monday they plunged six games behind the Giants in the division race.

And consider this. The teams will meet nine times starting in August and the Giants, who are currently without injured star players Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan, are expected to have them back by then.

And it's possible the Giants will be adding a quality outfielder at the trading deadline to cover for the possibility Pence won't recover as quickly as they expect. It's being speculated the Giants are considering trading for Ryan Braun even though he has several expensive years left on his contract.

Yes, the team that won the World series in 2010, 2012 and 2014 is probably going to represent the division in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers will stagger their way into the 2017 season.

On the positive side the Dodgers are getting a superb season from 23-year-old shortstop Cory Seager and anther Cy Young-type year from pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

But Joc Pederson is hitting around .220 and on most nights the Dodgers don't have anyone in the lineup with a .300 average.

I've asked several veteran writers in the press box if they can remember any Dodger team without a .300 hitter this late in a season. No answers so far.

The pitching staff is another problem. When Kershaw is the starter the Dodgers almost always win. When anyone else starts the Dodgers frequently lose.

On Monday night Zack Greinke beat the Dodgers, earning him a sixth straight victory after he got off to a slow start this season. The Diamondbacks outbid the Dodgers after Greinke had formed a one-two punch here last season before becoming a free agent

What were the Dodgers thinking?

With several pitchers injured the Dodgers recently called up 19-year-old Julio Urias to be a starter.

They don't expect Urias to pitch more than five innings in any start but they hope he can give them a boost until the injured pitchers return.

He shows major league ability sand twice in four starts he's struck out seven batters. But when two or three relievers are needed to finish his starts it places a burden on the bullpen.

In some future year Urias and Frankie Montas, another highly regarded pitcher, will probably be successful major league Dodger starters.

But not this year.

So, Dodger fans, enjoy the rest of the 2016 games but don't expect too much.


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