Nothing has come easy for the Dodgers this year. They made it harder on themselves when, for the fourth straight night, the bullpen couldn’t get the job done Monday.
Scott Alexander coughed up four runs for the Dodgers for the team’s 22nd blown wave of the year. That ranks third in all of baseball behind San Francisco (25) and Colorado (23).
Forget that it was a loss to the Giants, even though those seem to sting a little more no matter where each team is in the standings.
It goes without saying you can't waste a Clayton Kershaw start that saw him hold the opposition to one run on four hits over eight innings, striking out nine with no walks for the 31st time in his career. The Dodgers are now 23-8 in those games by the way. With a 1.51 ERA, eight is an incredibly high number of losses.
They’ve now lost 12 of the last 20 and have lucked out that Arizona is 18-21 in their last 39 or the Dodgers could be in even bigger trouble. As it stands now, they’re in third place by percentage points behind the Rockies.
Sure, the Dodgers have played a tough schedule recently, but a 17-17 record in the last 34 and 21-20 over the last 41, is abysmal for a team with World Series hopes.
The division race has tightened enough that the fourth place Giants are a mere five games back of the Dbacks. The last time four teams were this close in the standings so late in the season was September 7, 2007 when the Rockies were five out in fourth place.
It was already mentioned here yesterday that the Dodgers have not excelled in NL West play, now 26-26 — 9-4 vs the Padres — with 24 of their final 42 games against division opponents.
Taking a look at the wild card situation, the Dodgers find themselves 2.5-games behind the Phillies and Brewers who are tied while occupying both playoff spots. The Dodgers hold the tiebreaker over the Brewers but not the Phillies.
Los Angeles will play the Cardinals seven times over the next few weeks. St. Louis — the team that fired their manager in mid-July — is a half game ahead of the Dodgers after winning 17 of their last 26 and 10 of their last 12.
This is a position the Dodgers have mostly avoided during their five-year reign in the West.
After game 120 for the Dodgers:— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) August 14, 2018
2013: up 7.5
2014: up 4.5
2015: up 2.0
2016: up 0.5
2017: up 19.0
2018: back 1.0
The latest they’ve not held first place over the last five seasons was after game 122 in 2016. The next day they would take a half game lead over the Giants and not look back.
That team was 24-16 over those last 40 games and it would surprise me if the Dodgers didn’t need to at least match that as they come down the stretch this year.
No, it hasn’t been easy of late. But the Dodgers are adding Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the pen and will hopefully get Kenley Jansen back soon.
This team has the talent to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. The players simply need to perform at the level of which they are capable.
No matter how tough they’ve made it for themselves, the situation is not as bleak as it appears.