On Tuesday night in the seventh inning, Dodgers outfielder Alvin Toles was trying to make an incredible catch to preserve Julio Urias' bid for a no-hitter. The play ended Toles' promising year, as he suffered a torn ACL.Toles, 24, has made a major impact on the Dodgers since his Major
On Tuesday night in the seventh inning, Dodgers outfielder Alvin Toles was trying to make an incredible catch to preserve Julio Urias' bid for a no-hitter. The play ended Toles' promising year, as he suffered a torn ACL.
Toles, 24, has made a major impact on the Dodgers since his Major League debut last July. He has been an offensive force. His speed has helped the Dodgers to create scoring opportunities. In John Forsythe's absence, Toles had been hitting leadoff and was getting on base and providing power.
Of course, the Dodgers have other players who can perform in left field. However, Toles brought some intangibles that make teams champions. Toles provided quiet leadership and enthusiasm in the clubhouse.
The Dodgers have good depth at every position, so they can survive injuries and still go to the postseason.
The Dodgers have many potential left fielders. Andre Ethier, who hasn't played this season because of a herniated disk, could play left when healthy. Scott Van Slyke, who was promoted from Triple-A when the Dodgers placed Toles on a 10-day DL, can play left field. Rookie Cody Bellinger, who has the team lead in home runs, can play left field when first baseman Adrian Gonzalez comes off the DL.
Things have been going well recently for the Dodgers. After a slow start, the Dodgers' offense has erupted, especially since Bellinger joined the team. Now the Dodgers don't waste many scoring opportunities.
For the entire season, the Dodgers' pitchers have performed with excellence. The Dodgers have the lowest ERA in the Majors, and it is improving. Rich Hill probably will be coming off the DL sometime next week.
Early in the season, the starters, except Clayton Kershaw, had a problem with endurance, but their endurance has improved over the past two weeks. Urias carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. On Wednesday, Kenta Maeda, who has been superb in his past three starts after a rough start to the season, pitched a career-high 8 1/3 innings against the Pirates.
Alex Wood began the season in the bullpen because the rotation was loaded with more experienced starters. When Hill developed a blister and needed two stints on the DL, Wood joined the rotation. Thus far, the Dodgers don't want to remove the young left-hander. He has a 2.73 ERA. On Monday against the Pirates, Wood lasted only five innings, but he struck out 11.
For the entire season, the Dodgers' bullpen has been excellent. Even though they had a slight problem in Arizona, the bullpen's ERA is still the second lowest in the NL. Kenley Jansen is perfect. Pedro Baez has used his slider more and increased his tempo between pitches. These things have increased his effectiveness. Chris Hatcher has been reliable after a rocky Spring Training. Both Luis Avilan and Grant Dayton, left-handers, have performed brilliantly.
Last June, when the Dodgers traded Zach Lee to the Seattle Mariners for infielder Chris Taylor, not many people paid much attention, except noticing the Dodgers gave up on their first Draft pick from 2010. Taylor played a handful of satisfactory games in 2015 for the Dodgers. This past offseason, he spent a significant amount of time reworking his swing to increase his power. Although Taylor didn't begin the season in L.A., he received the opportunity to perform in the Majors when Forsythe broke his toe. While in the Majors, Taylor has hit everything hard, including Monday's first-inning grand slam.
In many recent years, veteran stars propelled the Dodgers to the postseason. However, now the young stars have helped the Dodgers climb up through the NL West standings. The Dodgers will miss Toles, but their depth should help them deal with his injury better than most teams.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.