The Dodgers have been on a roller coaster over the last couple of weeks. Series sweeps, that both included split doubleheaders, of the Cubs and Diamondbacks bookended back-to-back disappointing showings against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. LA’s dismal 2-5 combined record against the Pirates and Phillies highlighted two concerns that fans and analysts have had since spring: starting pitching and defense.
At their best, the Dodgers are the best offensive team in baseball that can overcome poor performances from the starters and relievers. At their worst, the Dodgers are a defensively deficient team that swings for the fences instead of moving runners over.
After nearly getting swept at home by the Phillies, the Dodgers begin a three-game set in Philadelphia today. Which begs the question, which Dodgers team will show up this weekend?
In the first three games against the Phillies, starters Tyler Anderson, Julio Urías, and Walker Buehler cage up a mind-boggling 17 earned runs. Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber combined to mash five home runs and record 13 RBI.
The saving grace for the Dodgers starters is that they may not have to worry about Harper this time around. The two-time NL MVP hasn’t played since the Phillies 8-3 win over LA last Saturday and is dealing with an elbow injury.
Regardless, the starters, backed by a duct-tape-bullpen that’s missing Tommy Kahnle and Blake Treinen, will need to be sharp and go deep into games. Considering that the Dodgers are already going with a bullpen game on Saturday, five-and-dive starts from Urías and Gonsolin are far from ideal if LA plans on winning the series.
May has been an up-and-down month for the Dodgers. They’re one of the few teams that can lose 5-of-6 and then sweep a team in four games over 42 hours. Spring road trips don’t make or break a season, but this weekend in Philadelphia is the perfect litmus test for a talented team that’s been inconsistent as of late.
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