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Labor Day: State of The Dodgers Entering September

It’s Labor Day folks and that represents the three-quarters mark of the major league baseball season. The Dodgers right now on September 1 are 88-50 and have a 17 game lead in the National League West. They’re magic number to clinch their seventh consecutive division title is now at 9. The boys in blue have been having a fantastic season overall. However over the last several weeks they’ve been playing crappy uninspired mediocre baseball. They’ve split their last 14 games and just recently lost three in a row to the Dbacks in Arizona. They’re playing this afternoon and have to win in order to avoid an embarrassing sweep.

The Dodgers have problems on all sides of the baseball right now. Of the players that are not already on the injured list are either hurt, slumping, struggling, or fatigued. Hyun-jin Ryu is especially tired these days. The baseball season is way too long but it’s making me wonder if the Dodgers can get through the season. The pitching staff is getting torched, nobody is hitting save for Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen is completely ineffective. Thankfully the Dodgers have a huge lead to fall back on.

At least there are September reinforcements on the way. Rosters expanded on Sunday and the Dodgers finally got David Freese back from the injured list. He had been out for weeks battling a hamstring injury. Right handed hurler Ross Stripling is also back after being out for a while with a neck problem. Also returning is reliever Dylan Floro to help in the bullpen.

Even with the slower month, the Dodgers still ranked sixth in wRC+ with 115, fifth in runs scored with 156, ninth in OBP (.340) and fourth in home runs with 51. They also had the fourth highest walk percentage. But their batting ranked seventeenth with a .257 average.

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As for the pitching, as a whole the staff ranked fifth with a 3.58 ERA and third with 276 punchouts. The Dodgers walked only 65. Even the relievers, normally maligned weren’t that bad in August. The Dodger’s relievers posted a 3.81 ERA which ranked seventh in MLB. Although five blown saves is no bueno.

The one guy who has been scorching hot in August was Justin Turner. Thank god for him because he’s been leading the offense for weeks now. Overall he’s slashing .296/.375/.522 with 26 home runs and 65 runs batted in. With Max Muncy out with the wrist injury, the Dodgers are really going to need Turner going into October and beyond. Turner batted .330 in August with 10 home runs and 19 runs driven in. His OPS for August was 1.069.

On the flip side, one Dodgers who is kind of struggling over the last few weeks is Cody Bellinger. While Cody still hit 8 home runs in August, he slashed only .235/.336/.582 with just 23 hits in 113 plate appearances. Bellinger is of course still having a historically great season. Perhaps this is just a little lull due to the dog days of the summer.

The Dodgers were still 17-11 in August, despite the losing over the last couple of weeks of the month. What concerns me is that the Braves went 19-9 in August. The thing is that the Dodgers are a mediocre road club. They’re only a few games above .500 on the road. At home however (52-18) they are spectacular. That’s fine because that’s how you want to perform. Generally you play .600 at home and .500 on the road. That’s a normal recipe for success. However I think it’s going to be very important for the Dodgers to get home field in the postseason and their lead over the Braves for NLCS home field is shrinking. With the recent losing it’s now down to just 4.5 games entering Sunday’s contest against Arizona. If the Dodgers have to go on the road to open the NLCS in Atlanta, then there might be a problem. Hopefully the Dodgers can finish up strong and not limp into October.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

9 thoughts on “Labor Day: State of The Dodgers Entering September

  1. Dodgers salvage one game of the 4 game series vs. the Snakes.

    Dodgers provided an early 2-run lead… Freese opens his comeback with a dinger, Martin adds another. Strips was impressive in his 3 innings of work (31 pitches). Dodgers chose not to push Strips, and bring in May. May was ineffective, giving up 4 straight singles in 1/3 of an inning. May gets knocked on a comebacker, and Kolarek allows another single, and Snakes get three runs to take the lead. Five straight singles, and 3 RBI’s to take the lead…. who says nobody hits singles to score runs?

    Dodgers tie the game in the 9th and game goes to extras, and Pederson comes through with a P/H HR (#28)! Baez slams the door shut.

    Dodgers save face and avoids an embarrassing sweep. Positive signs, Strips, Gyorko (initiated 3 double plays), Freese, & Pederson. Negative, too much reliance on the dinger…. 0-3 RISP, 10 KO’s

  2. I watched KTLA late Sunday night, they were going over the issues the Dodgers were to face come post-season, they basically voiced what many of us have been saying for many months in here. No surprise, well for most of us. It is going to be a very tough post-season, however with Muncy down it may be something exciting with Lux able to have some time to show his wares, again no surprise. I didn’t realize they said Lux has been batting in the .390s since going to OKC, can he the hot shot at the major league level, they think he just might.

    Anyone missing Grandmal this season? I didn’t think so.

  3. Wow! The hot LA air had the bell flying tonight. Thought we we in Denver for a minute….Rams beat the Broncos, 16-9. Amazing what global warming will do to a baseball.

    Lux has an exceptional debut in Blue. He sure has a sweet swing. Does not try to do too much, just gets the barrel on the pitch and hammers it. Gavin Lux could be a solid ROC candidate next season.

    Is Pederson HOT or what? Almost went 4-4 with 4 dingers. Boy, did he hit that small wall hard…. he looked OK, better check the wall for a crack, though.

    Buehler had a rough outing, as the thin hot air spared no pitchers tonight. He managed to go 5 innings, to get the win.

    Maeda a solid 4 out of the pen, to earn a save.

    Hope they saved something for tomorrow.

  4. Can Lux pitch out of the pen?

    Maeda was gassed in the 9th.

    Some better pull the magic wand out for the pen or at least the dildo out of Bluto’s ass.

  5. Whew… another Jansen scare. Good thing for the three run cushion.

    The Veterans come through, JT (#28), ?, and “Iceman”. “D”-Lux in a delight! But Dodgers did not think he was ready for “The Big Show”…. they probably still don’t.?????

    Dodgers escape with a win vs. last place Rockies.

  6. Well, a sweep of the last place Rockies. Game three was not pretty, but we’ll take it.

    Ryu has another poor outing. He was unable to go at least 5, giving up 3 runs, and 4 walks. He had the win, gift wrapped by Pederson,, but could not get out of the fifth. Has Ryu run out of gas? Does not look promising, and Cy Young could be in jeopardy.

    Dodgers managed to score 7 runs, 3 courtesy of Joc-Pop’s 2 HR’s, the other 4 were a result of some timely singles, a nice sacrifice, and a missed fielder’s choice on a weak grounder. The rest of the Dodgers sputtered with 5 weak hits, 13 infield groundouts, and 8 KO’s.

    Bullpen surprisingly kept the Rocks at bay the rest of the game.

    Is Pederson hot, or what? I am glad he was not injured seriously in the game 1 collision with the right field wall. But, the million dollar question is, will he sit Friday, vs. The Gnats? I have a feeling Giants will pitch as many lefties as they can. IMO, when a batter is hot, he is seeing the ball well… even Joc had said that that is the case. I feel that if a batter is seeing the ball well, it should not matter which side of the rubber the pitch is coming from…. he should be able to hit a righty or a lefty. We will have to wait and see what DR decides to do.

  7. Just a thought crossed my mind, regarding the late season meltdown of the starting pitching.

    Every year, the Dodgers boost about how deep they are with starting pitchers at the start of spring training. This season Kershaw, Ryu, Hill, Buehler, Maeda, Stripling, Urias, and the late addition of Gonsolin, and possibly May. Nine pitchers who the Dodgers have used as starters. Let’s just take the first seven I mentioned.

    At the start of the season, the Dodgers pick five, to be the designated rotation. All season long, the Dodgers shuffle around the starters, giving extra days rest, spot starts, and miscellaneous injuries surface. IMO, starters need to be in a set routine. How they prepare and condition themselves between starts is critical to their success. The rotation’s erratic performance, lack of stamina, and injuries coincides with their erratic number off days between starts. In Japan, Maeda was basically used once a week. He was able to get into a routine. Having to go every fifth day was not what he was accustomed to.

    With seven potential starters, why go with only five? There is no set rule that they have to go with only five. Why not go with a five or six man rotation, and have one or two emergency starters who can help in the pen and help with long middle relief? This will give the designated starters an extra day or two of rest, and potentially keep their arms fresher for the long season, help avoid injury, allow them to get into a set routine, and condition themselves to go deeper into games, with ample days between starts to recharge.

    Just an idea. As it is now, the rotation is in a shambles, and the Dodgers are scrambling for answers before the October run. Five of the seven starters are either returning from injury or running on fumes. Does not look good.

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