Dodgers Off Day Thoughts: The Tide Can Turn for the 2021 Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have hit a wall lately.

Offense running dry, a bullpen that has been inconsistent at best, 2-8 in their last 10 games, 3-14 in their last 17. Things are not going well for the franchise in Los Angeles.

But that’s not a reason to panic quite yet.

Aside from Edwin Rios’ struggles at the plate, most everyone in the Dodgers lineup has a good hitting past, compiled over many years.

Mookie Betts won the 2018 batting title in Boston. Corey Seager won the World Series MVP last season and has been largely consistent at the plate over his career. Max Muncy has been a solid, clutch hitter over his 3+ years in Dodger blue and was an All Star in 2019.

I could go on, but that would just be redundant.

Their reputations speak for themselves, and I would not be too worried about them just yet.

The only real concern for now is the bullpen, and that’s mainly due to injuries more than performance. Currently, David Price and Brusdar Graterol are on the 10-day IL, but look to be coming back later than that would indicate. Price is dealing with a hamstring injury and could be back later this month, while Graterol’s outlook looks less promising. Although his MRI came back negative recently, the Dodgers have not put a timetable on his return from a forearm injury. Corey Knebel is on the 60-day IL with a lat strain, and it remains to be seen how long he will be out.

This stretch of injuries has led to depth pieces like Dennis Santana, Garrett Cleavinger, and Mitch White having to be used in bigger roles, and although Santana has looked inconsistent this season and Cleavinger hasn’t been a completely reliable option either, White has performed well if you look at him from a season perspective. White has a 1.69 ERA this year in four appearances, and aside from the blown save in the Cubs series, has been a good option in lower leverage situation.

More simply, it’s also May 6.

The Dodgers are 32 games into a 162 game season. Along that road, most teams are likely going to experience rough stretches. The 2019 Washington Nationals were 24-33 at the end of May that season and were written off by many. They ended that year on a 69-36 run and beat the Houston Astros in the World Series.

Even though the Dodgers look to be in a tougher division than in years past with an improved Padres team and a well-performing Giants squad atop the NL West, the Dodgers should still make the playoffs at the end of this season. Eventually, the offense should come out of their struggles, the starting pitching staff will likely remain strong even after losing Dustin May to Tommy John surgery (also, a potential Josiah Gray callup?), and by the end of the regular season, most everyone out now should be back.

As of right now, there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. There are still five long months left in the regular season and the Dodgers’ long term outlook still looks promising.

Yes, the team is not doing well right now. There is no getting around that fact. But that doesn’t mean their fortunes can’t change, and I wouldn’t bet against that happening.