After jumping out to one of their best starts in franchise history and maintaining the top record in all of baseball for a good portion of the regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers uncharacteristically closed out the month of August mired by newfound inconsistencies.
The club’s woes began with a disappointing showing against the New York Yankees, dropping two out of three games in what many considered to be a potential preview of the 2019 World Series.
The Dodgers would immediately bounce back with a series win over the San Diego Padres, but followed up that performance with three consecutive losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After salvaging the series finale at Chase Field, L.A. returned home and picked up where they left off with a three-game series sweep of the Colorado Rockies. However, their four-game winning streak was snapped with a frustrating loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
Having posted a mediocre 7-7 record over their last 14 games, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admitted that his club has lost a little bit of traction in recent weeks, citing ongoing struggles of the starting rotation, via SportsNet LA:
“I guess a little bit. I think a lot of our momentum all year long has been starting pitching. When you have good starting pitching, consistent starting pitching, guys that go deep in games, that’s contagious and that gives you a chance to win on a nightly basis. I think if you look back at the last two weeks, the common factor is our starters just haven’t been consistent. You expect these guys to turn it around.”
As Roberts noted, the Dodgers’ rotation has been less than stellar over the last two weeks of play. Particularly their top-three arms in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, who have all been plagued by recent bouts of inconsistencies.
Once the clear-cut favorite for NL Cy Young Award honors, Ryu has pitched past the fifth inning only once in his last four starts, going 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA during that stretch.
As for Buehler, his most recent start against the Rockies resulted in eight hits and six runs over five innings of work — the most he’s allowed since July and June, respectively.
Kershaw, on the other hand, is in the midst of a three-game losing streak for the first time in four years. He compared the recent struggles of the Dodgers’ starting staff to the lineup finding momentum.
Even with all of their recent woes, the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch a seventh straight National League West title stands at a mere four games. L.A. can officially win the division as early as Sunday.