Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has not been one to lack confidence or shy away from comparing his team to other World Series hopeful. So a season-high seven-game losing streak and consecutive series sweeps at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks have done nothing to rattle Roberts.
“We’re going to win the division. I can assure you of that,” he boldly predicted Wednesday night. “It doesn’t matter what the records are, what the talent level is. I believe in the talent in our room.”
A mere 13 days ago, the Dodgers held a 21-game lead in the National League West standings. They enter play with a still-comfortable, but much less daunting 10-game lead over the Diamondbacks.
What’s more, Los Angeles is still six games ahead of the Houston Astros for the best record in baseball, and lead the Washington Nationals by seven games in the NL standings.
“If you look at the last, call it two weeks, we’ve lost a lot more than we’ve won. We’ve found different ways to lose,” Roberts said. “If you look at the pitching, the hitting over the last couple of weeks has been inconsistent.
“The guys are trying like heck. There are times where hitters go through stretches like this but you still find a way to scratch out more than one win. It’ll turn, there’s no quit. There’s really nothing to say but we’ve got to find a way to win a game.”
In addition to dropping their last seven games, the Dodgers have just one win in the past 13 contests, and haven’t won a series since taking two of three against the Detroit Tigers from Aug. 18-20.
The rate at which they’ve lost games eliminated the possibility of the Dodgers matching or surpassing the MLB record of 116 wins in a single season. Though, that never registered high on the organization’s list of priorities.
Yasmani Grandal exuded a confidence similar to that of Roberts, embracing the challenge the Diamondbacks have posed of late and welcoming a potential matchup in the NL Division Series.
Now the Dodgers look to rebound from dropping the series opener to Colorado Rockies as the homestand winds to a close. A road series with the Washington Nationals looms next weekend. The magic number to make Roberts’ prediction a reality has stalled at 13.