Seven days ago the 7-5 Dodgers were set to embark on a week that would see them play six games with two of 2016’s worst teams, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. After already going 3-2 in five games against these two teams, it seemed that the Dodgers would start to flex their muscles against two teams that appeared to have themselves begun 2017 by playing over their heads and ready to bounce back to reality. A week later, it seriously looks like it is the Dodgers who were playing over their heads, now suffering a very painful bounce to their reality, a 1-5 record for the week, 24 runs allowed over two games to Arizona, and a pitching staff in shambles.
The week began with a poor start from the $48 Million man Rich Hill, who by the end of the day wound up back on the disabled list, as we ALL knew he would, and with a future
that I have often described now being accepted by not just more and more fans, but apparently by the Dodgers as well. You cannot fight history – those ignoring it are doomed to repeat it – and repeat it they are doing. In 2016, over his five weeks with the Dodgers during the regular season, Hill was healthy enough to appear in all of six games and throw 34-1/3 innings, which total alone (discounting the 110 innings he worked for Oakland) would have represented his third highest innings pitched total since the 2009 season. The Dodgers CANNOT count on Hill to ever be able to pitch his next inning, let alone his next start. Meanwhile Jharel Cotton, traded to Oakland last August for Hill and the long gone Josh Roddick, is now the A’s number two starter.
The week ended with the fourth consecutive bad start from the guy that is supposed to be the Dodgers’ best starter after Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda. After an embarrassing outing in which he allowed a career worst four home runs to Arizona while allowing nine hits and six runs over five innings, Maeda’s line now sits at 1-2 with an ERA of 8.05.
In between the two, the Dodgers managed only a single win, and of course that was the game pitched by Kershaw. The team also had another decent outing from Brandon McCarty, another bad outing (four runs including three home runs in six innings) from Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose own ERA is now 5.87, and a bad game from Alex Wood, who allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings. But, compared to the bullpen, the starting staff is SUPURB!
Friday, the Dodgers‘ bullpen, taking a one-run lead into the bottom of the eight inning, allowed the Diamondbacks to score NINE runs, and tonight, the pen allowed four more runs in three innings, for a total of 13 runs over their last four innings pitched.
With the Giants themselves reeling from a horrid start of their own plus the rash of major injures that has now seen them lose Madison Bumgarner for at least two months and maybe for the season after already losing Will Smith for the year, Jerrold Parker for the foreseeable future, and also now seeing Hunter Pence injure a knee, two things look to be 2017 NL West reality: 1) The Dodgers biggest competitors for division supremacy now look
to be the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, and 2) The Dodgers may not be able to compete with either team.
The 8-10 Dodger are currently 4-7 against those two teams and 4-3 against the rest of the league.
But the Dodgers are very, very lucky with their schedule, at least for the next couple of weeks. After one more game tomorrow in Arizona, they then play seven of their next ten against those limping Giants (currently possessing the worst record in the National League and second worst in baseball), separated by three against the rebuilding Phillies, and then three more against the Padres. who the Dodgers beat up in three of four games to start the season. By the time the Dodgers finish those 13 games against teams against whom by right they should have little trouble, a lot more will be known about the Dodgers and that pitching staff that at this moment appears to be a staff with little resemblance to that of a team that can challenge for a division title, let alone a World Series berth.