Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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The Dodgers Must Make Adjustments This Season

Heyward

The Dodgers returned home after sweeping the New York Mets, (who have been a mess this season) to face the Colorado Rockies for a weekend series before embarking on another road trip and flying back to New York to play the Yankees after playing a series in Pittsburgh. It’s a bizarre schedule to make the Dodgers fly to New York twice within 10 days, but it is what is is. We don’t talk enough about the Dodgers being one of the teams with the most mileage this year after having to fly to Seoul Korea, and the two New York trips.

The Dodgers were able to even the series with the Rockies after a 4-1 win on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Yoshinobu Yamamoto allowed just one earned run on seven hits across seven innings while striking out seven to notch the win. The bullpen tossed three scoreless innings with Even Phillips returning from the injured list to record his ninth save of the season. The offense is still not operating on all cylinders, but they did manage to score 4 runs on 11 hits. Although one of those runs was due to a couple of Colorado blunders in the field.

Jeff Dominique over at ladodgerchronicles wrote an interesting article the other day about whether the Dodgers should make some changes or stand pat. As of right now, the Dodgers are 37-23 and have a five game lead in the National League West. The Dodgers are good, but not great. To be fair it is still very early in the season, but how early is it to make some adjustments?

That’s been the Dodgers and Andrew Friedman’s biggest problem, an inability or refusal to make adjustments. Even when it’s obvious to everyone else that they should. Last season the Dodgers had no pitching staff whatsoever, but had a great hitting team. Last June I saw what was apparent and made a statement that the Dodgers had no chance of winning a World Series and would more than likely be immediately swept out of the playoffs in the NLDS.

A lot of people were angry with me for making this bold proclamation. Some people agreed with me, some people assured me that Friedman would make the necessary moves to acquire the pitching the Dodgers needed to advance deep into the postseason. Being eight years deep into Friedman’s tenure, I now have a good idea of how he operates. Even so, it seemed highly unlikely for any team even one with the Dodgers enormous resources to be able to acquire several starting pitchers or more during the trade deadline.

Many people argued with me. But they have no starting rotation I pointed out. Since when has a team ever won a World Series with no starting pitching? People still argued with me, called me names, insulted me and laughed at me. Then well….SWEPT.

People made a ton of excuses for the Dodgers last year, (and the year before that as well). I’ll have to get into the excuses in a later article. Suffice to say, I was not happy to be right about this. However I am not here to blow smoke up anyone’s butt. I tell it like it is, no matter how much it will piss people off.

This year, the Dodgers are the opposite of 2023. The Dodgers have improved their starting rotation significantly with the acquisitions of Tyler Glasnow, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Veteran James Paxton was another shrewd pickup who has pitched effectively. Despite Bobby Miller’s injury, the Dodgers have rounded out the rotation with rookie Gavin Stone, and Walker Buehler, the latter returning from his second Tommy John surgery. The bullpen while also being besieged by injuries has pitched well too. Even with primary relievers like Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier still sidelined, Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson and some of the guys Friedman has picked up off the scrap heap have performed well. Closer Evan Phillips has returned from a hamstring injury. The defense has also been consistent. The pitching and defense have been good. It’s the offense that’s the problem this year.

Outside of the top four of Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith, the rest of the position player roster have struggled, especially the bottom of the lineup. The problem is that the Dodgers have half of their lineup hovering around the Mendoza line. It’s the primary reason they haven’t been scoring many runs over the last few weeks and the losses have been piling up.

Gavin Lux has been a huge disappointment. He’s not a good hitter. He’s been one of the most unproductive hitters in MLB this season. His situation is a tale as old as time. Top prospect who crushed minor league pitching, but has been unable to adjust to major league pitching. There’s a big difference between facing pitching in the pacific coast league and major league pitching. The difference is the size of the Grand Canyon. How much rope do the Dodgers give him? Some people say that it’s too early to give up on him, or move him to the bench. I don’t agree. The rest of the hitters are terrible. Chris Taylor’s struggles this year are well known. Enrique Hernandez, Jason Heyward, and Austin Barnes have been useless. Andy Pages, the one prospect who seems to have some talent, stopped hitting several weeks ago.

I agree with Jeff here. The Dodgers have to do something different this year. If you manage the postseason like it’s the regular season then you will continue to lose. If the Dodgers continue to put out lineups with half of the hitters at or below the Mendoza line then they’re going to keep losing. Baseball is a game of adjustments. Pitchers are constantly adjusting their pitch sequencing. Hitters adjust their batting stances, body positioning and swings. Management has to do the same. The Dodgers don’t have to make major changes, but adjustments are going to be necessary if they are going to win a World Series in 2024. I’ll have more to come later.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic
https://ladodgerreport.com

One thought on “The Dodgers Must Make Adjustments This Season

  1. Obviously, the outfield is where we need improvement. Infield, starting pitching, and bullpen are fine. First thing they need to do is get rid of Taylor. That is a wasted roster spot. We have all of June and half of July to see if one or two of Vargas, Pages, Heyward, Outman, and Kike can start producing consistently. By the middle of July we will also have a better idea of who might be available at the trade deadline. Until then, we will just have to be patient and see how this plays out.

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