The Great Dodgers Or the Collapsing Dodgers? We'll know Soon
September 14, 2017
Are the Dodgers great like they've been most of this season? Or are they the struggling team they've been lately? Can they regain their swagger or will they have an awful lot to explain to their troubled fans? If you're reading this column to get the answers you're in the wrong place. I'm as confused as you are. What I can supply today are my thoughts. I've been around Dodger Stadium for 45 years.
First I'll say I've never seen a Dodgers team look so good and so bad in the same season. How did this happen? The Dodgers were so good they were being compared favorably to baseball's great teams of the past. That changed for a couple of reasons, The Dodgers built a 20-game lead in their division and it was proper for manager Dave Roberts to start resting players. But there were key injuries also. As a result the Dodgers had different lineups on different days and they stopped scoring runs remotely close to their former pace. The Dodgers hadn't been winning primarily because they had great pitching. They were winning because they had exceptional hitting. Many times they fell several runs behind but rallied to win. Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager, the young guys triggering the offense, were both injured. That sure didn't help.
Several injured guys are ready to play and Roberts, realizing the losses have mounted due to a scoring drought, says he'll have a set lineup as soon as possible. Do you realize that Clayton Kershaw was the only winning pitcher in 18 games. The Dodgers lost 16 of them and Kershaw won the other two. The Dodgers lost 11 in a row, the worst slump of a Dodger team in 73 years. Of course the Dodgers played in Brooklyn back then. Now the Dodgers aren't even the best team in he National League. Washington is. They've got some key players back from injuries and they greatly improved their relief pitching just ahead of the trading deadline. I don't question the ability of Kershaw and Yu Darvish to win playoff games if they're healthy but the Nationals have greater depth among starting pitchers.
The American League looks formidable for the World Series with Cleveland on a 21-game winning streak. Or the talented Astros. I'll close this column by saying let's not forget the Cubs. Defending champions and close enough to the Dodgers and Nationals to have a chance.