For much of the year, we really expected to see the Dodgers in the playoffs, especially after the Boston trade. Even if the team made it as the final wild card team and had to face that one game “play-in”, with the potential for the game to be started by Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers would have had a great shot at advancing to the first real playoff series.
As the team has faded into the sunset above the Pacific, and with the loss of Kershaw, now likely for the rest of the season, the chances of reaching that game are slight, and the chances of winning it are non-existent.
Yesterday’s loss to St. Louis, the team the Dodgers are chasing for the right to lose the play-in to Atlanta, was a microcosm of the season, wasting one of very few recent good games from a starter and blowing several scoring opportunities.
As the Dodgers headed into the final month with a four game series against the fading Diamondbacks, they showed what was yet to come, by losing the first two with hardly a ripple of effort. Being shut out by a .500 pitcher like ian kennedy who can beat almost no one BUT the Dodgers, and then splitting a series they should have swept, should have been a total embarrassment, but it got worse when they lost two of three to San Diego. Since the Arizona series, this pennant contender with the multi-hundred million dollar payroll, has gone 4-8, losing all chances of gaining against the teams in front of them, and were, actually, shut out a SECOND time in two weeks by kennedy.
While the “big” bats have contributed their fair share to the collapse, such as Adrian Gonzalez’ .233 Dodgers average and zero home runs since at-bat number one, and Matt Kemp’s current streak of 6 for 53 with 2 RBI over his last 13 games, more fundamental mistakes have been just as instrumental. These include personnel mistakes such as acquiring and then continuing to start Joe Blanton, when a talented young starter like Stephen Fife is in the wings. Fife only got yesterday’s start due to Kershaw’s injury, and he clearly demonstrated that he should have stayed in the majors and in the rotation over the past few weeks.
A few days ago, don mattingly, the empty uniform that manages the Dodgers, told the New York Times that the Dodgers’ “reinforced” lineup should have enough talent to get by, and that “There’s no reason we can’t go out and start winning games and it’ll come together,”. Well, there is a reason, in fact many reasons, but the biggest one is him.
It continues to amaze us how pundits give the empty uniform actual credit for Dodgers’ success, when this talent-laden roster of multi-millionaires flounders, blowing game after game to clearly inferior teams; teams that may lack talent, but which have real major league managers, such as Arizona with Kirk Gibson, and San Diego with Bud Black. Where were the Dodgers when Arizona saw the future in Kirk Gibson? Just where they were when they made the same mistake a decade ago whey they bypassed Mike Scioscia, and where they sit now with the talented Tim Wallach wasting away on the coaching staff, waiting for the offer that will come this off season. That offer should come from LA, but it won’t.