The bruised and battered Dodgers are finally back home after an ugly 2-8 road trip dropped them from first place in the NL West to third. Since opening the season 13-2, LA has lost 15 of 20, 8 of 10, 5 of 6, and currently, at 18-17, the club has already lost as many games as it lost last year in the short season.
Basically, things are bad right now.
Coming off a World Series winning season and arguably improving the team in the offseason, suddenly there are several question marks surrounding the powerhouse Dodgers. One question or narrative that has been gaining teeth of late is pretty simple and reasonable…
Is this a World Series hangover?
Dodgers legend and SportsNet LA color analyst Orel Hershiser doesn’t quite think so.
I don’t think there’s as much of a hangover with this team as far as, ‘oh my gosh, they’ve fallen from grace.’ I think that they’ve just come off a magical season of 60 games … and now they’ve come into a 162 game season where slumps are possible.
Well, it’s safe to agree that slumps are absolutely possible. Over this stretch of poor play, the Dodgers have slumped and struggled in all facets of the game. Hitting, fielding, pitching (relievers at least), the team has often found new and frustrating ways to lose ballgames in bulk.
Still, this all feels like more than a team-wide slump — at least to me. But, before getting into that, Bulldog continued his thought on where the team is at.
Slumps can be long and you’ve gotta turn it around. So it’s a new mental battle for them. Not only are they the world champions and have a target on their backs, not only are they trying to repeat, but they’re also moving into a season where you didn’t have any slumps last year. I’m not sure we can put a narrative on it that it’s a ‘hangover’ yet, I think it’s just a new season [where things can happen over a long season].
So, Orel is not wrong, obviously. However, there is probably more to the hangover narrative than the team would like to admit. It’s hard to ramp it back up again after winning it all a season prior. You play to win and you just won, what is there to play for now? Surely the players aren’t going out there to lose, but the focus might not be as razor sharp as it was a year ago.
But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
At any rate, there are plenty of variables at play here, all of which are contributing to the struggles these Dodgers are going through. Injuries. Slumps. Bad luck. And maybe even a little bit of a hangover.