By Ben Ramirez
As of Tuesday, September 12, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ slump is nothing short of horrific. The team has gone 2-16 over their last 18 games while being outscored 102-47.
Baseball fans, both for and against the Dodgers, have taken to Twitter to discuss how the team has fallen off the map. There have been tweets about how they are playing playoff style baseball in September, referencing sub par performances in the playoffs the last couple years.
Some fans call Sports Illustrated’s August 22 cover, which asks if the team was the best ever, a jinx while others blame their poor pitching for their current losing streak. Whatever other excuses there may be, fans need not sound the alarms quite yet.
First, the Dodgers have a sizeable lead on the streaking Arizona Diamondbacks, for the time being, at nine games.
Second, besides a series with the Washington Nationals, the third weekend of September, the Dodgers’ schedule is not especially difficult, with series against the Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Diego Padres. That does not guarantee anything, however, as the team has not done especially well against the National League West.
Nonetheless , there are still things to be concerned about.
The Dodgers’ starting rotation and bullpen has been dismal. All-star Alex Wood has not been extraordinary after putting up Cy Young numbers in the first half of the year. Ace Clayton Kershaw was knocked around against the D-Backs in his last outing.
Rich Hill, after being named the National League Pitcher of the Month in July, has been smacked around his last handful of starts. International implants Yu Darvish, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun Jin Ryu have also struggled.
The offense has also been close to nonexistent the last two weeks, although there are positive takeaways. All-stars Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner have continued to produce. After more than half a month not playing together, Turner, Bellinger, and Corey Seager are all on the field at the same time.
September roster call ups Alex Verdugo and Wilmer Font have a chance to leave their mark on an already (dormant) powerful team. Charlie Culberson was also recently brought back up. Fans will remember him hitting a walkoff home run last year to win the division.
The Dodgers are scuffling, but it is better to get the kinks out early during September rather than later in the season. This way, there is still time to turn the tides and go into the postseason on a winning streak. They will be looking to end a 29 year World Series drought, and bring Southern California its first World Series since 2002.