Dodger Blues: Rotation Not Rotating, Hitters Not Hitting
The Dodgers have stumbled through the opening weeks of the season. A team that led MLB in regular-season wins a year ago – 104 – and took the World Champion Astros to seven games in the World Series last October finds itself in fourth place in the NL West.
They, however, open a three-game series with the Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Monday night six games below .500, five games out of first place, and 4 1/2 games behind the second place Rockies.
They are coming off a four-game winning streak that saw them sweep a three-game weekend series from the Nationals in Washington, and last Tuesday they finally activated Justin Turner to make his 2018 debut. How much of a factor can Turner be?
They did lose their first two games after his return in Miami, but they won their final game in Miami and then swept the three in Washington, and Turned had five RBI in that win at Miami.
The Dodgers also had a four-game winning streak April 15-18, which was the basis for a stretch in which they won seven of eight, and created expectations they were about to take charge. On April 19, however, they went into a 5-16 funk that saw them fall into last place in the NL West for a day before they embarked on the current win streak.
The Dodgers have had their challenges on offense, and for them, the they have struggled with their pitching staff. Closer Kenley Jansen stumbled earlier and their rotation has undergone an unwanted but necessary reshaping.
Among the seven primary starters out of the 10 used a year ago only two are currently on the roster and in the rotation -- Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda.
Whatever Happened To. ...
|2017 Starters GS||W||L||Pct||GS||IP||2018 Status|
|Clayton Kershaw||27||18||4||0.818||27||175||Left biceps tendinits early June return|
|Rich Hill||25||12||8||0.6||25||135.2||Blister problems late June return|
|Kenta Maeda||25||12||6||0.667||25||126.1||3-3, 2.75 8 starts, 1 relief appearance|
|Alex Wood||25||15||3||0.833||25||147||1-4, 3.32, 10 starts|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu||24||5||9||0.357||24||122.2||Left groin strain end July return|
|Brandon McCarthy||16||6||4||0.6||16||86.2||FA signed with Atlanta|
|Yu Darvish||9||4||3||0.571||9||49.2||FA signed with Cubs|
|Julio Urias||5||0||2||0||5||23.1||Surgery repair anterior capsule left shoulder.|
|Brock Stewart||4||0||0||-||4||13.2||1-0, 2.08 5 GS AAA Oklahoma City; 3 relief apps LAD|
|Ross Stripling||2||0||0||-||2||5||1-1, 2.08, 15 appearances, 4 GS|
They Dodgers are faced with what for them is a concerning ERA -- 3.80. It's the second highest in the last 10 years to 2010, when the Dodgers suffered their only losing season since 2005, and one of only three losing seasons since the Rockies came into existence in 1993. They also finished below .500 in 1999.
And for all the uncertainty in the rotation, it is the bullpen that has been a bigger problem for the Dodgers, particularly early in the season when closer Kenley Jensen was having a rare struggle. Not only does the bullpen have a 4.33 ERA, the highest of the last decade, but the relievers have been charged with 11 blown saves in 21 opportunities.
No Relief in Sight
Jensen did have his struggles early, but he has converted his last eight save opportunities, and on his last 12 appearances he is 6-for-6 in saves, having allowed one run in 13 innings, dropping his ERA from 6.23 to 3.20.
Jensen On the Rise
What has compounded the problem is that the Dodgers offense has been in a funk, too. They woke up Monday morning with the 10th lowest batting average for the franchise in the history of Major League Baseball, dating back to 1901, the lowest since 1968.
More Misses than Hits
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1968||0.23||0.289||0.319|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1967||0.236||0.301||0.332|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||2018||0.239||0.32||0.397|