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What’s going on in Los Angeles? The Los Angeles Angels came out of the weekend with a series win against their crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Angels have their fair share of firepower, the Dodgers were expected to make quick work of the Angels’ lackluster pitching staff. However, it was the Angels that got the best out of their foe’s pitching staff.
Will the Dodgers ever win another series
So what seems to be the issue with the Dodgers? Their abysmal recent stretch has completely erased their early red-hot start. At the beginning of the season, the question was whether or not they would break the all-time wins record. Now the question is whether or not they can defend their NL West division title.
So what’s the Dodgers main concern? Their bats. They left 33 men on base over their 3 games in Anaheim. The Dodgers were also 13 for 45 with runners in scoring position over the weekend which doesn’t sound too bad (.288 AVG), unless you consider the fact that they went 1 for 11 on both Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, the Angels left Pena on the mound no matter the damage so that inflated the Dodgers’ night a little bit but still they were doing what they needed to do with their bats.
Power out in Los Angeles
Perhaps the most concerning stat to come out of their weekend series with the Angels is that they only hit one home run… One. Against the Angels’ pitching staff. Just to put this into perspective, the Angels’ pitching staff has been so bad over the course of the last few years, that they have somehow managed to keep the best player of the generation out of the playoffs. Their sole home run came from Mookie Betts in the 9th inning on Friday to make it a 9-2 loss.
Starting pitching continues to be the only bright side of the Dodgers’ struggles. Kershaw and Bauer put in great performances over the weekend. Both actually made headlines over their “altercations” with manager Dave Roberts. I put altercations in quotations marks because I doubt that there were any hard feelings in those conversations.
Temperatures rising in the clubhouse
Kershaw was visibly upset when Roberts let him know he was done for the night after he went 5 innings with 0 ER on Saturday. Of course, if you look at that stat line without watching the game, you could understand why Kershaw would be upset. He was dealing and the Angels could not put the bat on the ball to save their lives. But the Dodgers provided him so much run support that he was forced to sit more than half an hour twice. Once his 5 inning were up and he qualified for the win, Roberts did what anyone should have done, take out Kershaw. It was 13-0 and to risk Kershaw getting an injury would be foolish. Kershaw, being the competitor that he is, was upset that he didn’t get more time on the mound which makes you appreciate him that much more.
Yes, the Angels roared back and were close to completely one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of the game, but a win is a win and the most important part is that Kershaw was not put in harm’s way for the sake of a win.
Los Angeles not what Bauer was expecting so far
Bauer’s “altercation” with Roberts was a bit different. Bauer was in line for the loss as the game headed to the 7th inning. However, it was a slim 2-1 lead for the Angels and he had been getting better as the game went on. After seeing what happened the day before, I’m sure his confidence that the bullpen could keep it a close game was minimal. When he came back into the dugout he seemed to tell Roberts that we wanted to stay in the game even though he had 113 pitches. Roberts seemed to reply that there was “not a chance”. This is me doing my best at lip-reading so I could be slightly off.
The bullpen came in and shut it down but the Dodgers could never get the hit they needed so Bauer ended up with the loss while throwing a decent game. After the game, Bauer voiced his frustration stating that he’s “pissed”. Bauer claims that he came to Los Angeles to win and these struggles for the team have been frustrating.
Kershaw also voiced his frustrations and addressed those that said that the slump will end with time. He claimed that they should be good enough to end the slump sooner rather than later. But for now, the stars aren’t aligning for the Dodgers.
What to make of this weekend
Should Dodger fans be worried? No. They are still the best team in the league when it comes to talent. They have been hit with some big injuries including Bellinger, May, Gonsolin, and Price. And they still 2.5 games behind the Giants. Don’t worry Dodger fans, the division still seems theirs to lose. In fact, our top 10 MLB Team Rankings still have them at number one… for now.