BASEBALL experiences momentum swings like very few other sports. It’s easy to lose five or six games in a row and then flip the switch and sweep a series against a team thanks to a hot batter or quality starts from pitchers. However, a winning streak of 56-11 followed by a 1-16 stretch can’t be explained as easily. With the playoffs nearing what Los Angeles Dodgers outfit can we expect to see from here on out?
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YOU would struggle to find many times that a team has been 50 games above .500 but after a win 6-1 over the White Sox on the 15th of August, that’s exactly where the Dodgers were. Sitting at 84-34, many thought that they could go on to break the all-time wins record set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) and become the first time since the 2001 Mariners to at least crack 110 wins.
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AS they paced their way to a 91-36 record it seemed like the Dodgers were destined for greatness. Leading up to that record their 56-11 streak comprised some impressive numbers. LA had scored 5.3 runs a game, nearly averaging two home runs a night while comprising a line of .264/.353/.487 in the 67 contests. The pitching staff were holding up their end of the bargain too, allowing just over three runs a night and letting batters walk just 2.5 times a game.
FAST forward to the 26th of August and the downward spiral began. Losers of 16 from 17 and 11 straight at one stage this wasn’t the Dodgers outfit we expected to see in early September. All of a sudden EVERY stat was against them with their run-scoring drying up to just 2.6 runs a game and their .201/.273/.320 line was flat out embarrassing. The pitchers kept their strikeout numbers up but allowed 101 runs in those 17 matches (good for 5.9 each game) and walked 3.8 batters every outing. With struggling hitters and a pitching staff in disarray, Clayton Kershaw was the only one able to pick up wins during a forgettable 18-day stretch.
SO where are the Dodgers sitting at now? Well, thanks to a string of good performances they find themselves with back-to-back series wins against the Giants and Nationals. They are likely to still bring up 100+ wins on the season and secure the #1 seed in the National League looking at their run home. The 2017 Dodgers are still a really good team and their record-breaking middle of the season was clearly unsustainable, contributing to their epic downfall we saw earlier this month.
THE biggest concern for Dodgers fans is their potential first-round opponent come playoff time. The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks are due to meet in the National League wild-card playoff game, with the winner scheduled to play the Dodgers in a division series. Considering they are 8-12 against Arizona and 7-9 against Colorado this year, with both teams sweeping them in September there should be alarm bells going off in Los Angeles. I think that their true colours will be exposed in the playoffs and their inconsistencies displayed over the past month mean they aren’t World Series material. Then again, the Dodgers have shown they can get hot before this season.
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