Entering tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently tied for second place in the NL West with the Colorado Rockies. Both teams are trailing the division-leading San Francisco Giants by 6.5 games. Even though it is not even June, the Dodgers should be somewhat concerned with regard to their place in the standings.
It is true that they are better off than a year ago, but there was a historic run of victories looming in 2013. It is unfair to expect the team to go on another such run, though they are certainly capable of it. There are major issues from top to bottom — from injury woes to lack of production – that are causing the Dodgers to hover right around the .500 mark and mediocrity.
Yasiel Puig has been sensational, and aside from a recent slump, Adrian Gonzalez has been consistently productive again. The Dodgers have not gotten all that much from Hanley Ramirez, certainly not what they expected to get after the tear he went on last summer.
The relief corps has been particularly troublesome. Posting a 4.04 ERA that ranks them 22nd in the league, the Dodgers relievers are performing far below expectations. Brian Wilson has been particularly emblematic of the struggles endured by the bullpen, posting a 7.13 ERA to go with a BB/9 of 7.64.
The leadoff position has been somewhat stabilized by Dee Gordon, but it is hard not to notice that he has cooled off after a very hot start. Over the past month, Gordon is only hitting .243, and one has to wonder whether he can recapture the production that made him one of the early stars of the season. His base-stealing ability alone gives him tremendous value, but his falling on-base percentage is a concern.
The starting pitchers have endured injuries, but they have been a consistently productive group for the most part. If anything is going to turn the Dodgers around, it will start with the exceptional talents of a group that includes Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top.
There is also unrest in the clubhouse. The outfield situation seemed ready to explode until Carl Crawford went down with injury. Matt Kemp has been quietly unhappy, and his production has suffered as well. Don Mattingly seems to have handled this as well as possible, but there is only so much that can be done in a situation such as this one.
The Dodgers need to turn this season around, and they need to do it fast. The Giants are playing well and with confidence, and without pressure from the Dodgers it seems very possible that the Giants could run away with the division.Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Baseball, Brian Wilson, Clayton Kershaw, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, Yasiel Puig, Zack Greinke