Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
At 7-3, the Los Angeles Dodgers enter Monday tied with the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees for the most wins in baseball. Only the Cubs, Twins and Yankees have fewer losses than the Dodgers.
So too do the Colorado Rockies, who are atop the National League West by percentage points with a 6-2 record. For all the early-season success the Dodgers have enjoyed, manager Dave Roberts doesn’t yet believe the team has reached its full potential.
“To be quite honest, I don’t think we’ve really clicked on all cylinders,” Roberts said. “I think we’re catching the baseball, the bullpen has been really good, (but) the offense hasn’t really gotten untracked, which I know we will. We’re finally hitting our stride.”
Heading into Monday’s series opener against the Padres, the Dodgers rank first in run differential (+30), bullpen ERA (0.99), team ERA (1.84) and home runs hit (17). They additionally are third in runs scored (54).
“I really like this team and group of guys. I don’t say it’s more confidence than I’ve ever had,” Roberts said.
As for growth he believes the team can still exhibit, he attributed it to Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts starting to overcome slow starts to the season, and Clayton Kershaw just coming off the injured list.
“I think it’s a couple things. Obviously not having Clayton is big, but on the offensive side, for the most part around the league, hitters are a little bit behind pitching,” Roberts said. “The average is down, runs scored are down. It’s a small sample, but I just love the way our guys grind.”
In addition to Bellinger and Betts, Max Muncy has yet to meet expectations. Some of that could be attributed to Muncy needing to adjust to batting leadoff for the first time in his career. Although Muncy is not experienced with doing such, he has voiced a willingness to do adapt so that Roberts can have his preferred lineup against a left-handed starter.
On the pitching front, Alex Wood struggled through his debut and now is on the IL as he recovers from shoulder inflammation. And receiving consistent depth outside of Ross Stripling has been a minor issue as well.
Betts, Seager hurting
Corey Seager missed the final game against the Diamondbacks due to left quad issue, and Betts was removed because of a sore middle finger on his left hand. If and when the Dodgers manage to get healthy, perhaps then Roberts will consider them as meeting their full potential.
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