The Los Angeles Dodgers went 13-2 to start the 2021 MLB campaign, leading to talk that the defending World Series champions might threaten the record of 116 wins in a season. Twenty games later, the Dodgers stand just one game over .500 and are in third place in the NL West.
Los Angeles sits 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West standings, and at 18-17, could potentially fall below .500 as early as their upcoming series with the Seattle Mariners.
Bauer ‘pissed’ over recent struggles
The Dodgers have lost five straight series while going 5-15 over their past 20 games. The team has hit at times, and pitched well at others, but has rarely been able to put together consistent performances over the past three weeks.
Most recently, the Cubs swept the Dodgers in Chicago, after which the Angels took two of three from them over the weekend. Over that six-game stretch, opponents have outscored Los Angeles 39 to 26.
“I’m pissed, personally,” starting pitcher Trevor Bauer said after the Dodgers lost 2-1 to the Angels on Sunday. “I freakin’ hate losing. I wanna win. That’s why I came here. We are not playing up to our capability right now.”
Bauer has performed well so far this year, going 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA to back up his Cy Young Award-winning performance in 2020. Fellow ace Clayton Kershaw has been just as good, posting a 5-3 record with a 2.62 ERA. On offense, virtually everyone is living up to expectations: Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and others are all hitting well. Among starters, only second baseman Gavin Lux has disappointed to start the year, hitting .209 with just eight RBIs so far.
Numbers suggest Dodgers are just fine
The Dodgers rank fifth in the majors in runs per game, and 10th in runs allowed – hardly the profile of a struggling team. And that’s one sign of good news for Los Angeles. They lead the National League in run differential at +32, but are 4-10 in one-run games. Those are signs that the Dodgers have suffered from bad luck as much as, or more than, bad play.
Sportsbooks certainly agree with that sentiment. The Dodgers remain a -400 favorite to win the NL West at DraftKings Sportsbook, and are the +325 top pick to win the World Series, well ahead of the Yankees (+700) and Padres (+850).
That may not calm the fears of Dodgers fans, however. The bullpen has been spotty as of late, and Los Angeles has made too many mistakes defensively. And at the end of the day, both players and fans expect wins.
“There’s no complacency,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “But at the end of the day, it’s a performance game. We’re better than this, and we expect to win baseball games considerably more than we lose.”
The Dodgers will send Walker Buehler to the mound as a -235 favorite against Seattle (+195) on Tuesday night.