Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Sarah's Take: Dodgers must find lost chemistry

MLB.com

Since Aug. 19, the Dodgers have performed poorly. Although the consensus among most knowledgeable baseball people is that Los Angeles will still win its unprecedented fifth consecutive National League West title, it won't go deep into the postseason unless it quickly improves play. Now the Dodgers are stuck in a seven-game losing streak, something that hasn't happened since May 2013. Over the past 10 days, they have lost 10 1/2 games in the standings.

While the Dodgers can't do much right, the D-backs can't do anything wrong. They have a franchise-record 13-game winning streak heading into Friday's game. Even without All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, the D-backs' offense is producing. Their starting pitching has been fantastic during the winning streak. At the beginning of the season, most baseball pundits had concerns about Arizona's bullpen. After all, it was the fourth worst 'pen in the league. But even with 40-year-old closer Fernando Rodney, Arizona's bullpen has been doing the job exceptionally well.

Since Aug. 19, the Dodgers have performed poorly. Although the consensus among most knowledgeable baseball people is that Los Angeles will still win its unprecedented fifth consecutive National League West title, it won't go deep into the postseason unless it quickly improves play. Now the Dodgers are stuck in a seven-game losing streak, something that hasn't happened since May 2013. Over the past 10 days, they have lost 10 1/2 games in the standings.

While the Dodgers can't do much right, the D-backs can't do anything wrong. They have a franchise-record 13-game winning streak heading into Friday's game. Even without All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, the D-backs' offense is producing. Their starting pitching has been fantastic during the winning streak. At the beginning of the season, most baseball pundits had concerns about Arizona's bullpen. After all, it was the fourth worst 'pen in the league. But even with 40-year-old closer Fernando Rodney, Arizona's bullpen has been doing the job exceptionally well.

Arizona has benefited greatly from the acquisition of J.D. Martinez in mid-July. Martinez was having a terrific year for the Tigers, but the team had a bad record, and it didn't want to re-sign Martinez at the end of the season as it began its rebuilding process. Martinez has given the D-backs what they hoped for. On Monday he became the 18th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game.

Video: Must C Classic: Martinez hits four homers, plates six

From June 1-Aug. 19, the Dodgers were the best baseball team in history. They had numerous injuries during this stretch, but they could deal with them and still win. After Aug. 19, nothing has gone their way. Though the injury to Cody Bellinger was a blow, and Corey Seager has been out with a sore elbow since Bellinger's return, something other than injuries has happened to Los Angeles.

After watching the Dodgers for the past 40 years, I know one player can't make or break the season. Baseball needs 25 or more players working together to win a championship. If teams don't have this, they don't have a memorable season. Before Aug. 19, the Dodgers had incredible chemistry, and they believed they could overcome any deficit at any time. Since then, they have looked lifeless at the plate. Their pitching has struggled, and their defense hasn't been as spectacular as it was.

Video: LAD@ARI: Granderson belts a solo jack to right-center

Before Curtis Granderson became a Dodger, I admired him from afar. He has always given himself to the game and the community where he has played. If he didn't, he wouldn't have won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2016. The Dodgers' front office liked the fact that he has been to the World Series twice with two different teams.

However, when Granderson joined the Dodgers, they sent down the struggling Joc Pederson to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Pederson, who has never had a high batting average, is a fabulous center fielder with an abnormally high on-base percentage. Although Granderson has mostly played in center field during his 13-year MLB career, as a Dodger, he has played left. Chris Taylor, who has endured many position changes this season, has had more errors when he has played in center and at shortstop.

Video: LAD@DET: Taylor slides to make a great defensive stop

As a Dodger, Granderson hasn't contributed much to the offense. When he joined the team, he quickly hit four homers. Since then, he has had trouble making consistent contact, and he's batting just under .100. Manager Dave Roberts continually has shown confidence in Granderson's ability to get on base, batting him second in the lineup in Seager's absence. He hasn't done well there, and without a quality No. 2 hitter who doesn't have good bat control, many teams struggle offensively.

Although the Dodgers haven't had good pitching during the losing streak, they can't win without runs. In the home series with Arizona, perhaps Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda didn't last as long as the Dodgers wanted, but they limited the hot D-backs to four runs in 17 innings. The Dodgers need to get Yu Darvish throwing strikes instead of trying to make the perfect pitch to strike out everyone.

It's understandable the Dodgers want everyone healthy entering the playoffs, but they should clinch the division before they rest players.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers