2011 MLB Season: What Is Wrong with the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Robert C BinyonContributor IIMay 24, 2011

Outside of Andre Ethier's 30-game hit streak, there hasn't been much to root for in Los Angeles.
Outside of Andre Ethier's 30-game hit streak, there hasn't been much to root for in Los Angeles.Harry How/Getty Images

Tonight, the Dodgers blew yet another game in the closing innings! It's almost like they try harder to lose than win in the last three innings of a ball game. Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Astros the come from behind 4-3 victory.

In their last eleven games, the Dodgers are 3-8, and two out of those eight have been blown in the final three innings. This month, the Dodgers are 7-14, with five late-game burnouts. On the year, the Dodgers have blown nine games, and have fallen to a 21-28 record because of it.

I define a late inning collapse as giving up a lead or tie in the seventh inning or later. So these stats don't even include Los Angeles' lovely 8 run ninth inning that they surrendered back on April 19th to the Braves.

Overall, the Dodgers are 21-28 which puts them in fourth place of the NL West and 7.5 games out of first. Now, I'm not saying that they should have won every one of these nine blown games, but imagine what they could have accomplished with a better bullpen. They probably win at least five, maybe even six of the nine games. That puts them at 27-22, the same amount of wins as the division leading Giants, and leaves them only three games back in the loss column. See what a difference a bullpen makes?

This "what could have been" record doesn't take anything else into account but the Dodgers shaky pen.

The Dodgers starters have done everything I thought they would. As a unit, they have posted a 3.78 ERA (5th in NL) while eating up a total of 303.2 innings. Only St. Louis (308) and Philadelphia (305) have pitched more.

Their relievers on the other hand have posted an atrocious 4.88 ERA, good for dead last in the NL. Only two teams have over a 3.66 ERA, Houston (4.72) and Los Angeles.

In terms of hitting, the Dodgers are fourteenth out of sixteen NL teams in the run department, but sixth in batting average! Their lack of long ball power is really hurting them, as Matt Kemp and Rod Barajas are the only players on the team with more than four home runs (11 and 7).

Its obvious that if Los Angeles is going to have any hope at salvaging the season, they have to improve their bullpen as soon as possible. Winning the NL West is still possible, but they can't afford to lose much more ground. I hope the rumors that were circulating during the off-season are true, and the Dodgers make a run at acquiring Prince Fielder, as he would be that huge bat they are lacking. Of course, in order for this to happen, they will need to find an owner that can make payroll.

Robert C. Binyon is a third year student at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he plans to graduate with a degree in sociology. You can follow him on twitter - @rcbinyon.