The Dodgers maintained their momentum after sweeping the Astros, finishing their road trip 7-2 and beating the Giants yesterday at home.
The rotation has started to eat more innings, and while Walker Buehler is struggling a little bit, Clayton Kershaw looked better than he had in years in 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Kershaw's fastball velocity was consistently 92 mph and he hit 93 a few times, something we almost never saw last year. All three of his pitches clicked, and he demonstrated why he's still one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The bullpen has remained a strength, putting up the lowest ERA in all of baseball. They got hit a little bit in San Diego, but they didn't relinquish any leads for good. Brusdar Graterol has demonstrated his electric stuff but has given up some soft singles that inflated his ERA. Similarly, Caleb Ferguson has looked mostly dominant except for when he needed to mop up a rally in the middle of an inning and one bad pitch to Will Myers on Wednesday.
Relievers Dylan Floro and Scott Alexander have seemingly harnessed what the Dodgers have seen from them in brief stints over the past two years, pumping the zone and striking out lots of batters. While lefty Adam Kolarek was sent to the Alternate Site to rework some mechanics in Thursday's league-wide roster reductions, Jake McGee have pitched really well, yet to give up a run along with many other Dodgers relievers. The Dodgers took a chance on him based on his numbers away from Coors Field last year when he was with the Rockies, and it seems to have been a great signing so far.
Late inning stalwarts Pedro Baez has been reliable as ever, taking forever to get guys out, but getting guys out. He has shown no difficulty pitching on back to back days and it seems as though he will continue to be the late-inning workhorse of the bullpen. Joe Kelly, who will appeal his suspension on Monday, has been, well Joe Kelly. He's had scoreless innings, but he still lacks command and has been bailed out a little by his defense. Blake Treinen has been okay, sometimes struggling with his command, and blowing a lead in which Roberts set him up to do so through a baffling intentional walk and leaving Treinen in far too long when he just didn't have it. However, Treinen still seems like his pitches are working well if he can keep them in the strike zone, and he's mostly been able to limit the damage and keep the ball low.
Closer Kenley Jansen has been, uh, interesting. Still not 100% after having COVID-19, Jansen has also struggled to find adrenaline without fans in stadiums. And while his innings have been more messy than a team would like for a closer, he has yet to blow a save. He looked pretty awful on Wednesday working on back to back days (this may be a stamina issue from COVID), but Chris Taylor bailed him out of the inning with a gorgeous throw to the plate to seal a 7-6 win over the Padres. Jansen hasn't looked as bad as he has the past few years, but he hasn't pitched as well as did in Spring Training and Summer Camp.
Shortstop Corey Seager hurt his back yesterday, but it's only minor discomfort and he had clean tests, so hopefully he'll be back in the lineup soon, as he's been the Dodgers' hottest hitter all season. Mookie Betts returned from a minor finger injury with a home run and a double yesterday and seems to have not missed a beat since his offensive explosion in Arizona.
Bellinger and Muncy continue to struggle, but AJ Pollock has picked up some of their slack, showing us what he can do with a fully healthy season. Edwin Rios has impressed as well with huge power, and he figures to play most days against righties. Bellinger has looked much better after and off-day Saturday with two homers and some singles, but he still hasn't consistently looked like himself. Muncy does not look as if he's seeing the ball well, but he does lead the Dodgers in home runs, hitting his fourth last night.
All in all, the Dodgers haven't really clicked yet as a team, especially offensively, but are still a sterling 10-4. Hopefully soon the guys will get into their groove and show us what this team is really capable of as they cruise into the playoffs.
Photo Credit: Dodgers Twitter