Hernández: Dodgers are profitable once more, however who's satisfied this crew will win in October?

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The Dodgers are profitable once more.

They adopted their sweep of the New York Mets by taking the final two video games of their three-game sequence towards the Colorado Rockies through the weekend.

Mookie Betts homered of their sequence finale towards the Rockies, a 4-0 victory on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Freddie Freeman additionally homered. Second-year right-hander Gavin Stone additional cemented his place within the rotation by pitching 5 scoreless innings.

The Dodgers are 38-23, the second-best document within the National League. They have a 6½-game division lead over the second-place San Diego Padres.

Yet, none of this was convincing.

None of this answered the longstanding questions on them.

None of this felt like persuasive proof for why they wouldn’t crash and burn within the postseason as they’ve in every of the earlier three years.

They have recognized a postseason Game 1 starter in Tyler Glasnow, however who comes after that?

One of the three pitchers who confronted the Rockies this weekend — Stone, Yoshinobu Yamamoto or Walker Buehler — will possible have to ascertain himself because the No. 2 starter earlier than October.

Stone, 25, is essentially the most constant however the least skilled.

Yamamoto is 5-1 with a 2.72 earned-run common over his final seven begins however pitched solely as soon as per week in Japan and supervisor Dave Roberts sounded as if the Dodgers have been decided to maintain him on the same schedule this season. Yamamoto has but to make a begin on lower than five-days’ relaxation.

“Sitting right here, I feel our precedence is to verify Yoshi stays on his type of further relaxation, so I don’t see that altering, even by October,” Roberts stated.

Buehler has made solely 5 begins since getting back from his second reconstructive elbow operation and the Dodgers stay unsure on what they’ve in him. In his most up-to-date begin, Buehler struck out seven batters in six innings — however he additionally gave up 4 runs — three earned — throughout a loss to the Rockies.

With James Paxton pitching comparatively properly, and Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller anticipated to return from their respective accidents, the Dodgers have pitching depth that ought to assist them pile up regular-season wins. But simply because a pitcher can beat a talent-depleted crew such because the Mets or Rockies in a midweek recreation doesn’t imply he can win a recreation in October. Remember, Lance Lynn was a superbly serviceable pitcher through the common season final 12 months. Lynn was crushed within the postseason.

The questions on pitching lengthen even to Glasnow. How will the Dodgers put together him to pitch on four-days’ relaxation within the playoffs?

Glasnow has saved a schedule much like Yamamoto’s, because the Dodgers are aware of how the injury-prone right-hander has by no means pitched greater than 120 innings throughout a season. Roberts stated he envisioned Glasnow making begins on a conventional five-day cycle in August.

“It’s not an actual science,” Roberts stated. “Tyler’s nonetheless gonna throw greater than he’s ever thrown in fairly a while.”

Equally, if no more, troublesome is the underside of the lineup, which has made the Dodgers overly reliant on the Big Four of Betts, Freeman, Shohei Ohtani and Will Smith.

The mixed batting averages of the Dodgers’ No. 6, 7, 8 and 9 hitters was a mixed .204 getting into the sequence finale towards the Rockies, which ranked fourth-worst in baseball.

Chris Taylor is batting .108, Kike Hernandez .198 and Gavin Lux .209.

Max Muncy’s indirect harm has additional magnified this downside, as Muncy’s transfer from the center of the order to the injured checklist has shortened the lineup. It’s no coincidence that shortly after Muncy’s harm, the crew went on a five-game dropping streak.

The Dodgers should handle this downside between now and the commerce deadline.

If all of this comes throughout as overly essential of a first-place crew, properly, that’s due to the prism by which this crew is seen.

In what’s a testomony to their possession group, the Dodgers have made the common season unimportant. They have reached the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons and received their division 10 occasions in that stretch, making October baseball really feel as if it’s a given.

Maybe this isn’t truthful to them.

Maybe observers shouldn’t let the specter of the playoffs diminish their appreciation of regular-season developments, corresponding to Stone’s emergence as a professional main league starter or catcher Smith’s enchancment throwing out potential base stealers.

But that is the Dodgers’ actuality.

The Dodgers are held to a distinct normal than each different crew in baseball, with the New York Yankees being the one attainable exception. For the Dodgers, success is measured in championships, and every thing they do — or don’t do — is judged by the way it may have an effect on them within the postseason.

And at this stage, questions stay.

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