Dodgers Off to Worst Start in More Than 60 Years

After reaching the 40-game mark of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had their worst start to an MLB campaign since 1958 with a 16-26 win/loss record. It may not be rock bottom just yet, but 40 games give a good indication of where a team is heading and, for the Dodgers, the future of their season is not looking promising.

It’s incredible that a team who has won the last five straight division titles in the NL West could fall into such a huge slump so fast. This is the team that took the Houston Astros to Game 7 of the World Series just last year, after finishing with a Los Angeles team record of 104 wins in the regular season. While their 16-26 record is bad, at least it puts them on top of the Chicago White Sox, who are having a real tough time of it with a 10-27 start. But, as far as victories go this year, that’s pretty much about it.

Perhaps they could take some inspiration from the team that started their five division title run back in 2013. The boys in blue were 31-42 at the end of June before going 42-8 to overcome the team’s largest ever deficit while also winning the title.

Currently, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the favorites in the NL West at -150, with the Colorado Rockies behind them on +333. Bookmakers haven’t written off the struggling Dodgers just yet though, and they’re still in with a chance at a modest +425. Bettors may even look to some free bet promotions on tipping sites such as Oddschecker to minimize their risk factor if they decide to back LA’s division title hopes come the end of the season.

Justin Turner
Justin Turner

Source: Justin Turner via Facebook.

The worrying thing for the organization is the results they’ve had while still having such a large payroll. If you add the money component into the discussion about which team has been the worst so far this season, then the Dodgers are 2018’s biggest flop.

The Los Angeles’ team started with a $187.3 million payroll, which means they have paid more per win than any other side. As it stands at the 40-game mark, the Dodgers have paid $11.7 million per win, edging out the Baltimore Orioles at $11.4m and the San Francisco Giants at $10.0m. Although, it’s fair to say that LA haven’t had luck on their side, allowing only one more run than they have scored, which would normally see them sitting around a .500 team.

Injuries haven’t been kind to the team either, with a host of players already finding themselves on the disabled list. During March, All-Star third baseman Justin Turner and new addition to the bullpen, Tom Koehler, both received serious injuries. All-Star Corey Seager will also be out for the remainder of the year with the dynamic shortstop needing Tommy John elbow surgery, as well as Clayton Kershaw, who will be joining the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Pitchers Tony Cingrani, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and infielder Logan Forsythe are on the DL and, if Rich Hill doesn’t have a speedy recovery, he may be another casualty of the Dodgers’ forgettable season. The injury crisis has certainly given the Dodgers an early depth test, and their recent results have shown that it’s most definitely not up to the task.

Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw

Source: Wiremoon Photography via Facebook.

Some fans are angry with the organization for not predicting the need for better squad depth this year. Their 15-game postseason run and an opening day of March 29 saw them have a shorter break than most World Series teams get, and reoccurring injuries to key players like Seager and Kershaw should have given the franchise the incentive for an active offseason.

However, they spent less money than any other team except the Atlanta Braves in free agency with a mere $4 million. It was no secret that the club was trying to stay under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, which was well short of their $241.7 million average over the previous five years.

Dodgers’ president, Andrew Friedman, admitted that the club was thinking about the future when deciding not to spend big during the offseason, saying that their organization needs the flexibility to move post-2018. It seems as though the main focus of this year was to save money rather than add to a squad that desperately needed some extra firepower.

The fans won’t be happy with the team starting off in this manner, and they may have to wait to see these cutbacks pay off in the future. If 2018 doesn’t turn out to be the Dodgers’ year, they will certainly make a splash next season, especially with the amount of spending power they’ll have in what is expected to be one of the most talent-packed free-agent markets ever. For now, the LA faithful has to be patient and get through what might be one of the more trying seasons in recent history for the club.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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Michael Norris
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Michael Norris

Well, I do not think in any way that the product on the field opening day was the same team that won 104 games last year and made it to game 7 of the World Series. There were subtractions and very few additions. The main free agent addition has not even pitched yet. The salary dump added their most consistent bat, Kemp, but removed some of their depth at starting pitcher by sending McBrittle and Quagmire away. It also sent a very positive bench presence away in the form of Gonzo. We all know he is not the same player… Read more »

bluto
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bluto

Well reasoned and well said.

Badger
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Badger

Except for signing Morrow. Paying him what Chicago did puts us over the cap. We cannot overlook the money factor this year. Next year maybe, not this year.

We will need the hitters to hit. And that means consistently. This finding nuts every now and then sh*t needs to end. How does a team that is not taught basic fundamentals practice them in high leverage games that count situations?

They don’t. Live by the home run swing die by the home run swing.

Michael Norris
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Michael Norris

Yeah I agree that signing Morrow was not in the cards, but he might have taken less to pitch here and right now they are 13 million under the cap, so who knows, but they definitely could have traded for Cole.

Badger
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Badger

That $13mm may be squeezed by Maeda incentives. He may or may not reach them but everyone hopes he does. Plus, it makes sense to keep a few shekels in the safe for deadline moves that may require them.

Bluto
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Bluto

And for the trading deadline move.

Badger
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Badger

Yeah, for that too Bluto.

?

Jeff
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Jeff

Norris, the bodies on the field were more or less the same product they fielded last season. Perhaps what was inhabiting the bodies has changed? To me, in theory, they became better by adding Kemp and dumping Kazmir and McCarthy as well as some others. Morrow, indeed was a loss. Font was a mistake that should have been corrected much faster. Gonzo was gone, even last year in the wake of Bellinger. They made little attempt to improve the pitching, but with last year’s staff, why would you think you couldn’t repeat? It’s like the Warriors, you don’t replace any… Read more »

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

Good post Jeff. Smelling blood is a very good way to put it. NL West is going to be a bloodbath.

Michael Norris
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Michael Norris

Well, the bullpen was reworked and Turner was on the shelf. They were missing their heart and soul. They may have had some of the same names on the backs of the uni, but the starting 8 were totally not the same. In theory maybe. But in reality, that has not been the case.

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

We are only 5 out. This is a big series coming up.

Two things have improved since we hit last place last week: we are starting to work the opposing pitchers more and making more contact with people on base – not great situational hitting still, but they are making contact with people on base instead of striking out.

We’ve also gotten some 6 inning starts but I don’t expect that to continue with the Rockies. Let’s see if our bullpen holds up against the Rockies.

Badger
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Badger

From what I’ve seen tonight – Buehler pitching like an ace. He’s hitting his spots, mixing it up, keeping his pitch count down.

Marquez has matched him but isn’t as impressive. Dodgers hitters are missing pitches over the middle of the plate. Squirrels out again tonight.

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

Can we stop bringing in Baez after the 5th please. Why don’t we pull a Tampa Ray and start him?

Michael Norris
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Michael Norris

Because he would probably implode just like he did when he came in.

Jeff
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Jeff

Indeed, Baez has successfully shown us that he cannot be a competent reliever. You can see that the guy doesn’t have the brains to go along with his blazing speed. He can’t put it where the catcher is telling him to put it. We have seen this over and over again. This is the prime example of the inability of the Dodger staff to simply not make the same mistake over and over again, hoping that the outcome will be different. Baez and Hudson are really not mlb quality. Fix this, and we will be making a step in the… Read more »