Posted on September 8, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
For most of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers could do no wrong. They were an unstoppable force with the best record in baseball and the confidence that they would parlay their regular season success into a long-awaited trip to the World Series. To be fair, the Dodgers still have the best record in baseball. But that cloak of invisibility is gone with the Dodgers now losing seven straight games and 12 of their last 13, a skid that has perhaps threatened their status as favorites to win the World Series.
Since the start of their skid, the Dodgers have been swept twice by the Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s not the worst thing in the world, as the Diamondbacks are the hottest team in the National League, currently holding a 13-game winning streak. But Los Angeles also lost three out of four games to the Padres, an unforgivable crime for any team with postseason aspirations.
The high-powered Los Angeles lineup has also been held to two runs or less in nine of their last 13 games, including the team’s lone win in that span. It may not be time to panic, but the Dodgers are certainly frustrated.
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“Our guys are upset right now. They’re frustrated,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Thursday’s loss to the Rockies. “Trying to figure out how to win one game where a few weeks ago it seemed like there was nothing we could do to lose a game. Right now it’s sort of the polar opposite. Again, the coaches are getting after it. We’re doing exactly what we’ve done all year long. The results just aren’t there. There’s no quit. We got to find a way to win a game.”
Even a start from ace Clayton Kershaw on Thursday couldn’t deliver a win for the Dodgers. The lefty lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up four runs and taking just his third loss of the season.
“I picked a really bad time to have a bad night,” Kershaw said after the game. Roberts added that the Dodgers “expected to win” with Kershaw on the mound.
The silver lining is that with 92 wins, there’s almost nothing the Dodgers can do that will keep them out of the postseason. With a 10-game lead over the Diamondbacks and a magic number of 13 for clinching the division, not winning the NL West seems like a near-impossible scenario at this point. The Dodgers are simply trying to remember that they’re the same team that has won 92 games this season.
“We don’t think that we’re a bad team,” Kershaw said. “We won that many games in a row for a reason, and we played that well for that long for a reason. We are a very good team, we know that, but we’re not showing it right now for sure.”
Aside from a loss of confidence, the recent skid by the Dodgers has no doubt made the other teams in the National League believe that beating Los Angeles in the playoffs will be a far less daunting task.
Obviously, there are a few weeks left in the season for the Dodgers to get things turned around and reassert themselves as the team to beat in the National League. But the damage may already be done. Their recent skid has shown other teams that the Dodgers are not invincible and may be just a little vulnerable with the playoffs around the corner.