The Dodgers spent the All-Star break in the West Division’s top spot, and with the National League’s best record. Since resuming play however, a flat, unmotivated group of slow-moving older-looking guys wearing Dodgers’ uniforms have lost two consecutive series to the Pirates and Cardinals, beginning the second half with a 2-4 record. Before the break, I wrote how the team will be facing stiffer competition and much better teams than those they ran through in the recent past. The tougher schedule is not making them look good, and it won’t get better any too soon.
After the three games in San Francisco, the Dodgers come home, and after three games with the Braves, they do face the last-place Cubs for three, but then they have home-and-home games against the Angels, followed by road games against the
|high-flying, first place Brewers, and then four in Atlanta, only to return home for another set against the Brewers.|
The team's outstanding starting staff has seen some cracks as of late. After a few poor outings in early July, they bounced back with consecutive shutouts just prior to the break, but in the six games since, the staff has allowed 30 runs. They do get a bit of a break in SF, missing the Giants'
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|Of the Dodgers's two players who suffered injured hands when hit-by-pitches from St. Louis starters, one, Yasiel Puig, should be able to return to the starting lineup at some point in SF, but as to the other, Hanley Ramirez, his return remains uncertain.|
So much has been made of the Dodgers’ overloaded outfield, but as July nears its end and with a mere two months left in the regular season, the five guys patrolling the outfield in Dodgers’ blue have all had disappointing seasons, including Puig. At the end of May, Puig was hitting .344 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI. In 42 games since, he has hit one home run and driven in 12, while hitting .263. The other four, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Scott Van Slyke, are earning a total of just under $60 million this season,
The best team that money can buy hit a high point in June and early July, but they need their starters to regain the earlier form, their outfielders to start earning their salaries, and they need to regain that lost momentum now, before they are relegated to a one-and-out wild card spot.