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Dodgers Week 8: A bumpy ride

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Pitching injuries & a struggling closer clouded a winning LA week

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Last week was a big week for red flags for potential Dodgers problems in October. A blister sidelined Walker Buehler for the second time this season, and Dustin May was hit by a line drive on his foot, making for a nervous 24 hours waiting for his CT scan to show no fracture.

May is expected back this week and Buehler might soon follow, but those are two reasons for potential concern in the rotation in the postseason.

Another worry spot came with Kenley Jansen having his worst two outings of the year, including allowing five runs in a meltdown loss to the Astros on Saturday. He’ll be on a short leash going forward, but for now remains the closer.

“He’s our closer,” manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call Saturday. “But obviously performance matters, it does. And everyone in that clubhouse knows that.”

All that noise was the backdrop for a week that saw the Dodgers need 10 innings to beat a bad Arizona team twice. But even with the losses and poor play, a blowout win in a bullpen game Sunday gave the Dodgers their seventh straight winning week.

Batter of the week

Chris Taylor brought out the big guns this week, including home runs in both games against the Astros. Taylor had a 1.173 OPS and seven RBI while starting at three different defensive positions and designated hitters.

“I think in general he’s shifted the field a little bit more than he has in the past,” Roberts said. “He’s always been a right field, right center guy, but I like the right center to left center approach.”

Honorable mention goes to Will Smith, who was 8-for-15 (.533) with three doubles, and is now hitting .303/.432/.618 with a 177 wRC+ that leads all major league catchers. “It feels good to see the average creeping up,” Smith said Sunday. “I’ve just kind of stuck to my process the whole year, stuck to my approach.”

Pitcher of the week

With one starter on the injured list, another one ailing, and a bullpen game looming the next day, Julio Urías got through six innings Saturday, allowing only one run to the Astros. Honorable mention goes to Victor Gonzalez, who struck out five in 4⅓ scoreless innings in relief.

Week 8 results

3-2 record
31 runs scored (6.20 per game)
26 runs allowed (5.20 per game)
.580 pythagorean win percentage

Season to date

33-14 record
267 runs scored (5.68 per game)
164 runs allowed (3.49 per game)
.709 pythagorean record (33-14)

Standings: 1st place, NL West; 2½ games up on San Diego
Current wild card round playoff matchup: vs. No. 8 San Francisco (23-24)

Miscellany

Rare off day: The Dodgers didn’t have games last Monday and Friday, using up two of their seven off days this season in one week. The latter was the club’s first scheduled Friday off day since April 10, 1981, one day after Fernando Valenzuela’s first major league start.

The came up on a Google image search, from a website that apparently no longer exists.

Transactions

Tuesday: Joc Pederson was placed on the paternity list, and reliever Josh Sborz was recalled.

Thursday: Walker Buehler was placed on the injured list with a blister on his right hand again, and Joe Kelly was activated from the injured list to begin serving his five-game suspension.

Friday: Pederson was activated from the paternity list, and Matt Beaty was optioned to the alternate training site.

Saturday: Pedro Báez was activated from the injured list after missing 19 games with a groin strain, and Dennis Santana was optioned.

Game results

Week 8 batting

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS
Smith 15 2 8 3 0 0 0 2 0.533 0.588 0.733 1.322
Hernández 13 3 5 0 2 5 0 2 0.385 0.467 0.846 1.313
Taylor 21 6 8 1 2 7 0 2 0.381 0.458 0.714 1.173
Lux 14 3 3 0 2 6 0 1 0.214 0.267 0.643 0.910
Pollock 22 5 6 0 2 4 0 1 0.273 0.292 0.545 0.837
Seager 22 3 5 1 1 2 0 2 0.227 0.292 0.500 0.792
Betts 21 3 4 0 2 4 0 3 0.190 0.292 0.476 0.768
Bellinger 21 2 5 0 0 0 2 2 0.238 0.304 0.238 0.542
Muncy 19 3 3 0 0 0 0 5 0.158 0.333 0.158 0.491
Starters 168 30 47 5 11 28 2 20 0.280 0.358 0.518 0.876
Rios 5 1 1 1 0 2 0 2 0.200 0.429 0.400 0.829
Barnes 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0.167 0.444 0.167 0.611
Pederson 5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.200 0.200 0.400 0.600
Bench 16 1 3 2 0 2 0 5 0.188 0.381 0.313 0.693
Offense 184 31 50 7 11 30 2 25 0.272 0.360 0.500 0.860

Week 8 pitching

Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP
Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP
May 1 0-0 1.0 2 0 0 0 0 0.00 2.000
Urías 1 0-0 6.0 3 1 1 4 3 1.50 1.167
Kershaw 1 0-0 5.0 4 4 3 2 3 5.40 1.200
Buehler 1 0-0 2.7 4 5 2 0 2 6.75 1.500
Starters 4 0-0 14.7 13 10 6 6 8 3.68 1.295
Gonzalez 3 1-0 4.3 2 0 0 0 5 0.00 0.462
Graterol 2 0-0 2.3 2 0 0 0 4 0.00 0.857
McGee 2 1-0 2.0 0 0 0 0 3 0.00 0.000
Ferguson 2 0-0 2.0 1 0 0 0 3 0.00 0.500
Sborz 1 0-0 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.000
Baez 1 0-0 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0.00 1.000
Wood 3 0-0 3.3 4 2 1 1 3 2.70 1.500
Treinen 3 0-0, 1 Sv 3.3 2 1 1 0 1 2.70 0.600
Kolarek 3 0-0 2.7 1 1 1 2 3 3.38 1.125
Floro 2 0-0 2.0 2 1 1 0 1 4.50 1.000
Gonsolin 1 0-1 5.0 6 3 3 1 3 5.40 1.400
Jansen 3 1-1 2.3 8 8 6 0 2 23.14 3.429
Bullpen 26 3-2, 1 Sv 31.3 29 16 13 5 29 3.73 1.085
Totals 30 3-2, 1 Sv 46.0 42 26 19 11 37 3.72 1.152

Previous reviews: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

The week ahead

The Dodgers run the Luther Hackman gauntlet, finishing up the road portion of their schedule with a showdown series in San Diego followed by four games at Coors Field. May threw a bullpen session and practiced fielding drills Sunday to test his contused left foot, and things went well enough that he’s penciled in for Wednesday in San Diego. Mitch White is in line to be called up Friday to start, or at least pitch bulk innings in Colorado. The rest of next weekend depends on Walker Buehler’s availability.

Week 9 schedule

Mon, Sep 14 Tue, Sep 15 Wed, Sep 16 Thu, Sep 17 Fri, Sep 18 Sat, Sep 19 Sun, Sep 20
Mon, Sep 14 Tue, Sep 15 Wed, Sep 16 Thu, Sep 17 Fri, Sep 18 Sat, Sep 19 Sun, Sep 20
at Padres at Padres at Padres at Rockies at Rockies at Rockies at Rockies
6:10 p.m. 6:10 p.m. 1:10 p.m. 5:40 p.m. 5:40 p.m. 5:10 p.m. 12:10 p.m.
Kershaw v. Gonsolin v. May v. Urias v. White TBD v. TBD v.
Lamet Davies Paddack Gonzalez Freeland (L) Castellani Marquez
SNLA SNLA SNLA/ESPN* SNLA SNLA SNLA SNLA