The Dodgers’ season is starting to get out of hand. At first it was a minor setback losing Kenley Jansen during the series in Colorado but it has since escalated into an even bigger issue. Game after game, the Dodgers bullpen seems to blow it in the eighth or ninth inning. That’s including Kenley Jansen.
Since returning from the Disabled List on Monday night against the Cardinals, Jansen has given up 3 Home Run’s that were crucial in the ninth inning. Monday night, I thought the putting Jansen in a tied game in the ninth inning was too much pressure for himself; but he’s a professional and should know what he can and can’t handle. He quickly gave up 2 Home Run’s, including one to the National League Home Run leader, Matt Carpenter. Dodgers would go on to lose the game by a score of 5-3. Last night, Jansen was brought in for the ninth inning for yet another tied game, and gave up a 2-Run Home Run to Paul Dejong which ultimately cost the Dodgers the game.
There are so many problems with the Dodgers right now, it’s hard to tackle and decide which one is in greater need of help. One side you have the offense and on the other side you have the defense. Each problem coincides with one another if you look at it. Not to mention, since the Dodgers are struggling so much, these problems are magnified and every small thing that goes wrong gets criticized.
For this whole season and it seems like the last few years, the Dodgers are having problems getting hits when they have runners in scoring position. When you watch this team play, it doesn’t look like they care about getting a hit as much as they do hitting a Home Run. After all, the Dodgers are #1 in the MLB in extra base hits but are dead last in singles. That has to show something. Either they crush the ball or they fly out. This team could have bases loaded and nobody out and they would still find a way to not score a single run. It is amazing to watch this spectacle unfold. With this Dodgers team, you either score 10+ runs and win or you score one run and you lose. There really isn’t an in between.
So that brings us to the bullpen and all of their woes. One of the biggest problems in the bullpen is that they’re not getting much to work with when they come into a game. When the Dodgers have already scored more than 5 runs and have a nice lead, the relievers do just fine. When the relievers come into the game and the score is 1-0 or 2-1, that’s when things start to snowball out of control. Scott Alexander has blown multiple games in the past few weeks, most notably Clayton Kershaw’s dominant start against the San Francisco Giants. Dodgers had a 2-1 lead going into the ninth inning and Alexander let it get out of control and by the time Roberts brought in the next pitcher, the game was all but lost.
As I said, they don’t have much to work with and that is due to the players not scoring enough runs or capitalizing on the chances they have to break open games. It’s kind of like a engine. You need something to fuel the engine and keep it going and you need some sort of steering to make sure it stays on track. In this case, the offense is the fuel and the pitching is the steering. They need to work together in order to make this whole thing work as it should.
Los Angeles has so much potential but cannot get anything going for a significant amount of time. They thought that this problem would go away by trading for Manny Machado and Brian Dozier. It still hasn’t gone away as both of those players have started to fall to the plague of not hitting with RISP. So what do you do now? Add more bats. The Dodgers claimed Bryce Harper off of waivers but unfortunately the waiver expired before they were able to make a deal with the Nationals.
Bryce Harper and the Dodgers are starting to look like a future pair. During this season, Dodgers General Manager, Farhan Zaidi, has said that the Dodgers will pursue Harper in the offseason when he becomes a free agent. Now look back to the day before the trade deadline when the Nationals reportedly told other teams that Harper was available. The Dodgers were the team most serious about acquiring him via trade but nothing came of it. Fast forward to this week when the Dodgers claimed Bryce Harper off of waivers but were still not able to land him. It is clear that the Dodgers want Bryce Harper, how could you not? The guy is an absolute monster and would instantly upgrade any team’s lineup. Although this season is a down year, Bryce Harper is only 25 years old and still not in his prime. During the offseason, you can be sure that the Dodgers will be the most aggressive team in trying to sign Bryce Harper.
While the Dodgers are certainly going through a rough patch right now, you have to keep your head up as a Dodger fan. Last season, the team lost 10 games in a row and somehow managed to keep their faith and make it to the World Series. I’m not saying that will happen again this season as last year was just an amazing season, but it’s too early to officially count them out. Yes, the Dodgers are 4.5 games behind the first place Arizona Diamondbacks, but they still have 35 games left to get their season together. However, if they don’t get it going soon, we might not see the boys in blue in the playoffs.