The Los Angeles Dodgers started the 2015 season winning 22 of their first 32 games.
In the 58 games since, including Sunday’s first half-capping comeback win over Milwaukee, they are 29-29. The offense particularly, but also the starting rotation and bullpen have all in one form or another been sources of concern.
Certainly the Dodgers haven’t looked like one of the National League’s best teams for a while. In a stronger division, this would all be generating serious heebie jeebies, but fortunately for the Dodgers they don’t play in one of those.
They reside in the National League West, sporting only one other team over .500. San Diego, Colorado, and Arizona are anywhere from mediocre to bad, and for all the hand-wringing about how the Dodgers can’t beat the San Francisco Giants, it’s worth noting that the Giants don’t seem to regularly beat teams that aren’t the Dodgers.
San Francisco has its own problems.
All of this explains why, despite obvious vulnerabilities, the Dodgers remain a near lock for October baseball.
As long as they have their lead, Don Mattingly won’t be consumed with aesthetics. “I want to stay where we’re at, and win the games we have to win,” he said Sunday.
“I know where we’re at in the race, and plan on staying there, and playing the kind of baseball we’ve had to play to stay there.” Go in hot or in through the back door, he says. Just go, because the path doesn’t much matter.
“Obviously you’re there to win it and you’re going to have to get hot, but how you get in has zero to do with it other than you’ve gotten yourself in,” Mattingly says.
“The last couple of years we’ve put ourselves in good position, and have been able to set up our pitching. (Two years ago) we get through the first round and didn’t get through the second. Last year, we don’t get through the first. Doesn’t mean you still don’t want to be that. I’d still rather go in, win the division, be able to set up your pitching, all that kind of stuff. But none of it’s a guarantee. So the number one thing is to qualify.”
CONTINUE READING: Wondering How Aggressive The Dodgers Need To Be