Dodger manager Dave Roberts (#30) going over things in the midst of his team’s longest skid in thirty years. Photo courtesy of sportscanyon.com
LOS ANGELES DODGERS – STRUGGLES BY THE NUMBERS:
* A ten-game losing streak, tied for the longest in L.A. Dodger history with the 1961 and 1987 Dodgers
* Losers of 15 of their last 16 games
* Lead in the National League West has dwindled from 21 to nine games
* Dodgers’ Offense During Losing Streak:
.197 average, 24 runs scored
* Dodgers’ Pitching During Losing Streak:
6.42 Earned Run Average
“…right now we’re the worst team in baseball. What we did three months ago doesn’t mean a whole lot right now. No one in this league is going to feel sorry for us…We’re bleeding a little bit right now. I think teams are smelling the blood.”
–Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner
What that red-bearded guy said in an article from today’s Los Angeles Times sums up how things are going for the Dodgers rather well.
In over forty years of following the team, I’ve never seen anything as bad as this.
It’s like a sense of hopelessness is permeating the atmosphere surrounding Chavez Ravine, that the results will be bad no matter how hard the effort.
Unless things change NOW – and there’s no indication of any end to these doldrums in sight,
We’re looking at, quite possibly, the biggest collapse in the history of sports.
Not that there isn’t any precedent with this team, as there are two instances where these Dodgers blew a lead late in the campaign and stayed home for the postseason…
* In 1962, the year that Dodger Stadium opened, the team held a four game lead in the National League (there were no divisions then) with seven games to play.They lost their final game while the second-place San Francisco Giants won, setting up a three-game playoff.
Which the Dodgers lost as despite winning 102 games in the regular season, they gave up the winning runs in the ninth inning in Game Three at Dodger Stadium, leaving the rival Giants to face the New York Yankees in the World Series.
* The other instance, while the Dodgers were based in Brooklyn, is the much more famous one.
In mid-August of 1951, a date in the World Series seemed safely embedded at Ebbets Field as the “Boys of Summer”, led by the great Jackie Robinson, held a 13-and-a-half game lead over the New York Giants.
Then while the Dodgers played .500 ball over the next few weeks, the Giants proceeded to go 37-7; it took a spectacular game-saving catch and winning home run by Robinson on the final day against the Philadelphia Phillies to set up a three-game playoff.
The Giants won the first game, the Dodgers blew the Giants out in the second,
And every baseball fan knows what happened in the ninth inning of the third game at the Polo Grounds;
Dodgers led 4-1,
A tired Don Newcombe gave up three hits and a run,
He was replaced by Ralph Branca,
Bobby Thomson stepped up to the plate,
And the next thing you know, Russ Hodges was screaming,
“The Giants win the pennant!!! The Giants win the pennant!!! The Giants win the pennant!!!”, with Jackie Robinson checking to make sure that Thompson was touching every base on that Shot Heard ‘Round The World.
Not even the best pitcher in baseball’s been immune to the Dodgers’ bad fortune as Clayton Kershaw lost his most recent game. Photo courtesy of abc7.com
All right, that’s a good piece of history, but what about this year’s team?
I know folks are asking that right about now…
To be honest, there’s not much I can say about those Dodgers as they’re in a free fall.
Outside of winning, there’s doesn’t seem to be anything they can do as the teams that have done the damage to them, the Milwaukee Brewers and particularly the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, have adjusted to the Dodger pitchers and hitters.
Make no mistake, the word is out on how to pitch to guys like Turner, Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger and how to hit against guys like Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Yu Darvish, and especially the Dodgers’ middle relievers (I won’t include Clayton Kershaw on that list just yet).
As such, they’re embarking on a road trip that will seem them play the very strong Washington Nationals – who have just clinched the National League East – in between the two teams with the worst records in baseball, the Phillies and the Giants, who the Dodgers will face in a three-game set starting tonight.
If that blue-clad club doesn’t get well in San Francisco and Philadelphia, where those teams are well on their way to 100 losses,
Then as far as I’m concerned, their fate is sealed.
The biggest collapse in sports history will be complete.
And their credibility not only in the baseball world, but in the sports world in general, will be shredded for a LONG time if not forever.
As a longtime Dodger fan, I pray that doesn’t happen.
And I’m sure every other Dodger lover is praying the same thing.
The cause of the Dodgers’ woes? A victim of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Photo courtesy of conservativeangle.com