Los Angeles Dodgers Losing Streak is No Surprise
If you didn't see this coming, you truly know what it means to be a fan and love blindly.
The Dodgers stumbled into interleague play with a pitching staff turning out one brilliant performance after another, while the offense provided just enough of a pulse to keep the team alive.
Minus a couple of run-scoring outbursts, one against the Cardinals, and a week later against the Reds, the Dodgers have scored five runs or fewer in 14 of 18 games in June, including back-to-back 1-0 wins against the hapless Diamondbacks.
It was only a matter of time before the thin starting rotation began to falter, and the bullpen was exposed for its lack of effectiveness.
The routine goes something like this: The starting pitchers sharpen up and therefore go deeper into games. The bullpen, therefore, doesn't have to participate in extended inning appearances, and can get by while being effective in short relief.
The offense then simply has to cover the gap. A small number of runs will be held up by the opposition's lack of offense during superb Dodgers pitching.
The Dodgers experienced success with Hiroki Kuroda remaining healthy, a young pitcher not preceded by a scouting report, and a 22-year-old work horse fronting a veteran staff.
However, more injuries to the starting rotation and bullpen, along with borrowed time catching up to John Ely, and the Dodgers find themselves dropping to third place in the N.L. West.
American League teams specialize in hitting while having no pitcher spot to account for, and the comparison between American League offensive production and the lack of Dodgers production was made glaringly obvious.
Andre Ethier's batting average has steadily dropped to .318 since returning from the Disabled List. Matt Kemp went through a 0-16 slump, and saw his batting average plummet to .258 with just a small handful of RBIs in June.
The Dodgers continue to struggle to produce with runners in scoring position and have their hands full this week. The Dodgers are set to take on the Angels for a three-game series in Anaheim.
So where do the Dodgers go from here? They have signed Kiko Calero and Claudio Vargas, figures on the horizon that Los Angeles hopes are not a mirage.
The veteran pitchers will come in with low expectations; they simply have to stay healthy and will already be faring better than current Dodgers pitchers. Their assignment, if called upon, will be to eat up innings, and provide spot starts while rotation starters Chad Billingsley and Carlos Monasterios lick their wounds.
Vicente Padilla is back just in time, as his start Saturday bridged a gap and bailed out manager Joe Torre, who was relieved to be out of a pickle. Padilla wasn't overly impressive, but kept the team in the neighborhood before the bullpen gave it away.
If the current trend holds up, fans can expect some serious shuffling of names on the active roster, with notable names and new faces adorning the blue and red.
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