When a season-high losing streak comes into play during a crucial stretch of the season, players and the fan base tend to panic. The Los Angeles Dodgers at one point held a five-game lead in their division and have watched that lead shrink to just 1.5 games.
Through all that has happened, the team understands that this is baseball and at the Major League level, streaks like this tend to happen. In an effort to remain loose, the veterans and leaders of the ball club have stepped up and have addressed the situation.
Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who won a World Series ring in 2008, recently talked to his teammates and stated that the group should remain calm and stick to what they know. Ace and reigning NL MVP Clayton Kershaw also called upon the group to play with a sense of urgency, as the team cannot afford to keep playing the way they have been entering the final month.
The main way to get the clubhouse out of this uncharacteristic slump is to put runs on the board and get some wins under their belt. Andre Ethier was asked if there was anything specific the team needs to do and answered by stating that it is what the team shouldn’t do, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
You can’t take extra chances just because you’re not scoring,” Ethier said. “If you start to do things out of character, that’s when you get yourself in trouble.”
The longest tenured Dodger does make a point, as the team had repeated success during the season by being consistent in what they have done. Baseball always has been a mental game and the moment the team tries to do things out of the ordinary, that is when they begin to dig a deeper hole. In 2008, the team had an eight-game losing streak in the middle of August, dropping them 4.5 games out of the division. When the vibes of the club were as low as they can be, the team went on an eight-game winning streak that placed them into the postseason.
Catcher A.J. Ellis also reiterated Ethier’s comments, by claiming that a positive approach can truly outweigh the negative that has overcome the ball club in this past week:
You’re in the midst of a streak like this, it’s easy to let the negative outweigh the possibility of the positive,” he said. “We need to find a way to keep the energy up, keep the positive thoughts going.”
The Dodgers begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, with pitcher Alex Wood facing off against John Lamb. As Ellis said, the team should remain optimistic, as the club is facing three pitchers they have already beaten this season at the Great American Ball Park, a notorious hitter’s park.