Watching the Dodgers play today, it’s hard to remember their trip to the World Series just eight months ago, where they finished off their best season in almost 30 years by giving the eventual champions a run for their money.
Now, Dodgers fans shudder to think what an Astros-Dodger series would look like. A bloodbath, probably, between one of the three best teams in the MLB and one whose fall from grace has been rapid and dizzying.
Los Angeles’ fall began when it dropped its opening series to instate NL rival San Francisco, previously regarded as one of the worst teams in baseball thanks to their post-even-year slide. They now stand at 14-17 on the season so far, only topping San Diego in the NL West.
However, even before opening day, which was hampered by a sewage leak in Dodger Stadium the day before, the Dodgers’ season hasn’t been set up for success. Justin Turner began the injury train in one of the last games of spring training when a pitch broke his wrist and sentenced him to the DL for the near future.
Also in spring training, Tom Koehler (Brandon Morrow’s would-be replacement) hurt his shoulder and doesn’t look good to play at least until the All-Star break.
Not long after Turner, Corey Seager, Hyu-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig, Rich Hill, and Logan Forsythe all make visits of varied lengths to the disabled list. Ryu and Seager, the Dodgers’ ace and best shortstop, are the biggest hits to the team. Having two of your best players out for the start of the season is not ideal, but having one (Ryu) out until at least the break and the other (Seager) out for the entire season — thanks, Tommy John — is worst-case scenario for a team attempting to make another run to the World Series.
Now, there’s almost no chance of that happening again. The way they’re playing right now, the Dodgers would have to be granted three magical wishes to even hope to make it to the postseason.
The question isn’t why the Dodgers are so bad — unless you believe in curses or things coming in threes (or dozens, in the Dodgers’ case), the flurry of injuries and bad luck falling upon the Dodgers this season is just a bad coincidence. The question LA has to face now is how far they can hope to make it this season with the hand they’ve been dealt.
The current state of the NL West makes it an alright place to have a slide, with the Diamondbacks the only clear standout team, already boasting a 4.5 game lead over the Rockies. The D-Backs have been consistent in recent years, the biggest threat to the Dodgers’ run in 2017.
That being said, even making it to the third spot in the NL West would be a staggering feat for these Dodgers. If they did pull it off, it’s unlikely that it would even earn them a Wild Card bid. So as the mantra goes, there’s always next year.
Luckily, the Dodgers have a solid farm system that should be producing fresh talent for them down the line. Kyle Farmer has already proved himself at the plate as a product of the OKC Dodgers, and Walker Buehler hopes to do the same on the mound this season.
By next season, the Dodgers should have their stars back in full health. If all goes to plan and Kershaw stays on once his contract expires next winter, the men in blue could once again make a surge for that elusive trophy. But in the meantime, it’s chicken soup for the Dodgers.