The Dodgers managed to survive, even excel in July without Clayton Kershaw, but a second full month without their ace began to take a greater toll. The pitching staff in August was very much a group effort, with 21 different Dodgers pitchers during the month.
But the strain of continued short starts — the rotation averaged 4.63 innings per game in August, with a 5.48 ERA and 5.39 FIP — put an extra strain on the bullpen that began to show, with a 4.56 ERA and 3.80 FIP from the relievers, the highest marks of any month this season.
The offense, which has been resurgent for the better part of two months, began to wane over the last week, scoring 10 runs in seven games before exploding for 10 runs on the final game of the month to head into September on the happiest of notes.
The club ended August at 15-13, which believe it or not was the best record in the National League West during the month, and head into September with a 1½-game lead in the division.
Dodgers batter of August
Adrian Gonzalez regained his power stroke, hitting .330/.357/.606 in August, leading the team in doubles (9), home runs (7), RBI (24) and was second in runs scored (19). His signature game was a three-homer, eight-RBI game on Aug. 22 in Cincinnati, but even without that game Gonzalez would have tied for the team lead in RBI.
Gonzalez narrowly beat out catcher Yasmani Grandal, who had six home runs and a team-leading 16 walks, and Corey Seager, who like Gonzalez had 36 hits in 109 at-bats in August and led the team in runs (20).
Despite only 24 plate appearances in August, Andrew Toles was another strong contender, going an amazing 11-for-20 with seven extra-base hits and 12 RBI, culminating in a grand slam to complete one of the great comebacks in Dodgers history.
Dodgers pitcher of August
It was a month of chaos for the pitchers, especially the starters, with TBD featured prominently. But in the month he turned 20, Julio Urias was the club’s best, filling in both as a starter and in relief, going 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA.
132 runs scored (4.71 per game)
149 runs allowed (5.32 per game)
.445 pythagorean winning percentage (12-16)
2016 year to date
596 runs scored (4.48 per game)
539 runs allowed (4.05 per game)
.546 pythagorean winning percentage (73-60)
Game of the month
Down six runs with six outs remaining and facing a sweep in Denver on Aug. 31, the Dodgers scraped for three runs in the eighth inning, then mounted another rally in the ninth. Still down three with two outs and one on in the ninth inning, LA’s win probability sank to 1.5 percent. Singles by Yasmani Grandal and Josh Reddick cut the deficit to two, then a walk by Joc Pederson loaded the bases. Rookie Andrew Toles delivered a grand slam to the opposite field for the lead and eventually the win, giving the 2016 Dodgers their signature moment to date.
Pinch hitting: Dodgers pinch hitters were 11-for-47 with a double and a triple in August, hitting .234/.288/.298. Believe it or not, that was one of the best months of the year for LA pinch hitters, and the first month in 2016 that their pinch-hit batting average was above .182.
Runners in scoring position: The Dodgers hit .243/.319/.417 with RISP for August, which is pretty much in line with their .252/.336/.409 RISP mark on the season.
Bases loaded: The team was 7-for-17 for the month, with grand slams by Chase Utley in his return to Philadelphia and by Andrew Toles to close out the month. The club hit .412/.476/.882 in August.
The month ahead
The stretch drive, including two regular season games in October, sees the Dodgers play 13 games at home, and 16 on the road. They have a 10-game road trip to play the Marlins, Yankees and Diamondbacks from Sept. 9-18. The Dodgers play the Giants six times in the final two weeks — Sept. 19-21 at Dodger Stadium then Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Kevin Elster Field.
After Sept. 1, the Dodgers have two off days remaining — Thursday, Sept. 8, then Monday, Sept. 26 to start the season’s final week.
San Francisco closes out their regular season schedule with 13 home games and 17 road games.
A look back