LOS ANGELES -- Throughout a 162-game season, every team is going to go through its fair share of ups and downs. The Dodgers experienced an instant high to begin the season, jumping out to a 12-2 record.
But they are certainly not immune to some of the lows that come with the season. The Dodgers are in the middle of one right now. With a 5-3 loss in 10 innings to the Reds on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, L.A. has now lost six of its last eight games and back-to-back games in extras. Just a week ago, it looked like the Dodgers were going to run away with the division, even as early as April. Now, they’re tied with the Giants and the Padres are lurking.
A team that looks as dominant on paper as any in recent memory is going through its first slump of the season. The Dodgers will eventually break out, as every team does. But right now, they’re searching for some answers. Manager Dave Roberts isn’t hitting the panic button.
“Throughout the lineup, we just have to take better at-bats consistently,” Roberts said. “I know we’re better than we’re performing right now. I think our offense is going to perform better in the coming days, but right now we’re just in a little funk.”
The day began with more bad news for the Dodgers, as left-hander David Price was placed on the 10-day injured list. He will miss several weeks with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Price joined a long list of Dodgers who have been placed on the injured list over the last two weeks, though they got Gavin Lux back on Monday and the second baseman delivered an RBI single.
Those injuries have zapped some of the Dodgers’ biggest strengths -- their length in the bullpen and in the lineup. Through six innings on Monday, not much went right as the Dodgers looked like a team that was emotionally and physically drained following a grueling four-game series against the Padres.
Corey Seager gave them a spark in the seventh, launching a two-run blast off Reds left-hander Amir Garrett to tie the game at 3. Unfortunately, the Dodgers weren’t able to get much else going, as recent struggles resurfaced. After going 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position and leaving 18 men on base in Sunday’s loss to the Padres, the Dodgers went 1-for-10 in similar situations against the Reds, leaving 10 men on base.
Because the Dodgers left a lot of meat on the bone, the Reds were able to strike back in the 10th inning, as Jesse Winker welcomed Kenley Jansen into the game with a leadoff two-run homer to put the Reds on top.
“There have been some situations, going back to Seattle, where we hit line drives that were caught and they made good plays in those situations,” said Dodgers catcher Will Smith. “But there’s definitely been times where there’s been a strikeout with bases loaded and less than two outs or a double play and we’re one timely hit from breaking it open.
“We’re a good offense. We’re going to go through games or series like this where we can’t get it all together, but tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully we’ll break that open tomorrow.”
Despite the recent struggles, there is some sort of perspective that the 162-game season is reminding everyone of after playing a 60-game marathon last season. A stretch like this last year could’ve been detrimental for the team. This season, there’s plenty of time to break out of it. There’s also the fact that the Dodgers are guaranteed to be over .500 in April and have shut down any notion that they were going to suffer through a World Series hangover.
“We got off to such a good start, and you look at where we are in the win-loss [column], I would’ve banked that to start the season,” Roberts said. “I think it’s certainly magnified right now on the offensive side, and what we’ve done in that last series and losing tonight. But I’ve said it many times over in the past years, we’re going to be fine and we have a lot of talent.”