Baseball’s a frustrating sport to follow, but thankfully they play it almost every day of the week. Even in the worst years, most people hold off any sort of opinions on teams until the All-Star break and even then they’re humble. Imagine if baseball were played once every four days? Or once a week for 16 weeks? Yeesh.
Thankfully, we keep things in perspective. A three-game series loss to the Angels in Los Angeles puts the Dodgers half a game behind the Padres. The main problem isn’t this, it’s that the Dodgers have, for a while now, played above their run differential. They’ve scored 292 runs and allowed 290. Though their record is 36-27, their pythag win-loss is 32-31. They’re leaning toward PECOTA’s projection.
Now you might say that part of that is because of the implosions of Vicente Padilla and Ramon Ortiz, and you’d be right. Their replacements in the rotation, John Ely and Carlos Monasterios, have been a big reason for the pitching’s return. Add in the bullpen’s sudden switch from arson squad to mediocre relievers with Hong Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton serving as the go-to guys and Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso and Justin Miller performing slightly better than their horrible performances earlier this season.
The funny thing is that where the offense carried the team in the first month and change, the pitching has carried the team in the since.
The Dodgers offense put up a .279/.349/.435 line through May 6, when John Ely entered the rotation, and a .254/.319/.382 line since. Part of that drop is because of Ethier and Manny missing some time, but the team’s patience took a big drop and the team’s defense has remained stagnant.
Now it’s encouraging that both have been very good this year. Gives you hope that maybe they can both work at the same time some time later this year, but it’s a little scary when their run differential still remains what it was on May 6.
The Dodgers have won 11 games since May 28. Nine of those wins have been by one run.
I think the Dodgers will be that team that’s got the crazy run differential, but keeps winning. This is one of those things we’ll just have to wait and see about, but it’s possible that the Dodgers up the RD and the universe balances out. Where they end is still anybody’s guess.