- The Dodgers have stumbled badly following the All-Star break
- Can LA snap out of its tailspin and return to the World Series for the second straight year?
- Can anyone catch the Boston Red Sox?
The Los Angeles Dodgers looked like world beaters halfway through the season.
They were rolling through opponents, their pitching was dominant, and they had solidified their lineup by picking up Manny Machado.
But things aren’t rosy in LA anymore, as the team has stumbled in the second half. This allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies to jump them in the NL West standings. The Dodgers aren’t even in the picture for a Wild Card spot.
Can they correct the course? Or are they doomed to miss the playoffs after coming within a game of being World Series champions in 2017.
Average 2018 World Series Odds
LA has been all over the place this year when it comes to World Series odds. From when the books opened to Spring Training, the Dodgers clicked along at a steady pace, typically around +550.
When things got off to a rocky start, they fell behind the Nationals and Cubs. While their +1800 odds didn’t have them out of the picture, it was their worst odds of the season.
2018 World Series Odds
|Team||Odds to win 2018 World Series|
|Boston Red Sox||+380|
|New York Yankees||+740|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+1000|
Then came a two-month stretch where they climbed their way back to the top of the NL picture at +450. Now? It’s more of the same from the start of the year.
Despite being 6-4 over their last ten entering Tuesday’s action, the Dodgers have faced a frustrating month. They’re 9-11 in their last 20, and 14-16 over their last 30.
Red Sox: We're losing again and it's weird.
Yankees: Our bullpen hurts.
Cubs: Our everything hurts.
Astros: This World Series hangover sucks.
Dodgers: Ours too.
A's: Sucks to be all of you.
— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) August 22, 2018
The Red Sox (19-11), Astros (15-15), Yankees (18-12), Cubs (19-11), and Indians (20-10) have all had better 30 game stretches. That’s why they’ve left the Dodgers behind after being neck-and-neck with them for most of the last year.
D-Backs and Rockies flip-flop with Dodgers in NL West
|Team||Record||Games Back||Games Back (Wild Card)||Odds|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||70-61||2||2.5||+1000|
|San Francisco Giants||66-67||7||7.5||+17600|
|San Diego Padres||50-83||23||23.5||+90000|
While LA concerned themselves with the other contenders, the teams behind them quickly gained ground.
Taking that same sample of the last 30 games, both the Diamondbacks and Rockies have posted identical 17-13 records.
While acquiring Manny Machado should have put them miles ahead of the competition, it did the opposite. The fact is, they just haven’t been very good since bringing the former Oriole aboard.
The Dodgers officially landed Machado on July 18th. He played his first game in Dodger blue two games later against Milwaukee. The Dodgers won that game 6-4, Machado went 2-for-3 with two RBI, and LA sat at 54-43 atop the NL West. They were 1.5 games up on Arizona and two games up on Colorado.
While acquiring Manny Machado should have put the Dodgers miles ahead of the competition, it did the opposite.
Now the Dodgers sit two games back of the Diamondbacks for the division lead. They’re also 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, with the Rockies squarely in their way.
Dodgers’ stars down in the dumps during August
Despite a star-studded lineup, August hasn’t been kind to the Dodgers.
Starting with Machado, his .255 average is the worst of any month this season. He’s also struck out 25 times this month, and has 35 total strikeouts in his time with LA. By contrast, he had 50 in three months with the Orioles.
Matt Kemp, who had enjoyed a resurgence in LA, has hit a big bump in August. After hitting over .300 in April and May and .282 in July, he’s followed that up with a .210 in August. Yasiel Puig has had similar troubles, hitting just .269.
The #Dodgers ERA in the 9th inning since August 9th (the day Kenley Jansen had his heart episode) is 8.44. Giving up almost one earned run per 9th inning for the last 2 1/2 weeks.
— Jason Stewart (@JasonStewart) August 28, 2018
Pitching wise, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill have been great, but it’s a mixed bag after that. Kenta Maeda struggled through July and August, and has moved to the bullpen. With the drama surrounding Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers have struggled to find continuity once their starters leave the game.
Can the Dodgers turn it around?
Despite all of the things that have gone wrong, the Dodgers still have the best odds to win the World Series in the NL West.
It’s not like they’ve undergone a Washington Nationals-esque collapse either. Despite the drama surrounding them falling behind, they’re two games out of the NL West.
The Dodgers' last 6 losses have come in their opponents' final AB.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 21, 2018
They can also fall back on last year, when they went through something similar. They’ve also in the middle of a four-game win streak.
The Dodgers also have 13 games remaining against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Six on the road and seven at home. They’re 7-6 against the Rockies this year, but 4-8 against the Diamondbacks. It really just comes down to taking care of business against those teams.
The Dodgers also have 13 games remaining against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Six on the road and seven at home.
LA has the best pitcher in the division in Kershaw, and two of the best hitters in Machado and Cody Bellinger.
They have some work ahead of them, but until they’re in the ground it’s tough to count them out. They’ll get into the playoffs and after that, they’re still one of the best equipped teams in the NL to make it back to the World Series.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.