Grade Of The Week: Puig Steals The Show, Pitching Remains Problematic

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The Los Angeles Dodgers slightly improved on their disastrous 2-5 record week last week, their latest stretch of games did not go without blunders. Although the team went .500 on the week and avoided more extra-inning games, the losses were particularly demoralizing.

Two of which were double-digit losses that included two appearances from Drew Butera. The Dodgers also had a wide array of performances from their starters this week, which resulted in both impressive wins and concerning losses.

Grade of the week: C

The good: Yasiel Puig has been nothing short of impressive over the past six games, going 8-for-23 with three home runs and 10 RBIs and on Monday, was named the NL’s Co-Player of the Week. Although his 16-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday, the right fielder has become a big threat in the lineup as the season has progressed. Batting .322 on the season so far, Puig seems to be avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump. Carl Crawford also had a pair of home runs over his four starts last week.

Some Dodger starters struggled, but Zack Greinke was not among them as he had his most impressive start of the season on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander allowed just five hits and two walks over eight shutout innings in a 7-0 win. With Greinke’s most recent win, he became the first starter in the National League with seven wins and is tied for the most wins in all of baseball.

Another glimmer of hope amidst the inconsistent pitching staff is dark horse Brandon League. Many are still in disbelief with League’s season so far, and the reliever continues to impress with every outing. The right-hander threw five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits while fanning three this week and has not allowed an earned run in over a month.

The not-so-good: With the impressive outing from Greinke this week also comes some unrest in the starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw had the roughest outing of all the starters, tossing just 1.2 innings allowing six hits, two walks and seven earned runs. Although everyone believes this start to be a complete anomaly, one cannot ignore the fact that the Dodgers ace had one of the worst starts of his career in an 18-7 loss against the Diamondbacks.

Following Kershaw, the team was forced to utilize five relievers and Drew Butera, who made an appearance out of the bullpen earlier in the week. Between Butera, Jamey Wright, Chris Withrow and Chris Perez, the four relievers allowed a total of 11 runs in Saturday’s demoralizing loss. Over the course of the entire week, the Dodgers bullpen gave up 16 earned runs, logged one save and accumulated a 7.45 ERA.

Paul Maholm also struggled on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs over 3.2 innings, but with Hyun-Jin Ryu set to return this Wednesday against the New York Mets, the rotation will no longer need to depend on Maholm as its fifth starter for much longer.

Dan Haren gave up 17 hits and seven runs over two starts this week as well. On the offensive side, Dee Gordon saw a major drop in production this week after going 4-for-26, and Juan Uribe still seems to be adjusting from a sore hamstring with a .231 batting average on the week.

Overall: While Puig stole the show this week, the Dodgers bullpen continued to be problematic, with the overuse of relievers this week was mainly due to some short outings from their starters. When the rotation regains stability with the return of Ryu, the rest of the pitching staff looks to fall into place.
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