When the Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a 13-2 start this season it seemingly validated the confidence president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts expressed during the offseason and Spring Training of a World Series hangover being avoided.
However, since that hot start, the Dodgers have lost 15 of their past 20 games and now are in third place in the National League West. The slide is not due to complacency from winning a championship, but rather a rash of injuries and several players entering a collective slump.
“We’re absolutely frustrated. We’re way better than this. Period,” Max Muncy said after a recent loss to the Chicago Cubs. It amounted to being swept for the first time since a two-game set against the L.A. Angels in July 2019.
Frustration and disappointment has extended beyond the clubhouse to Dodgers fans, and Friedman as well, per Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“I’m not the best-behaved person,” Friedman said. “It’s not something I’m all that proud of. It definitely affects my personality more than I would like.
“It’s funny: I thought there was a chance that winning a World Series would help give you perspective for games that you lose in April, but it has not.”
The Dodgers have experienced rough stretches during their current streak of eight consecutive NL West titles, most notably when losing 16 of 17 in September 2017. The team also got off to the worst start in L.A. franchise history in 2018. In both instances the Dodgers reached the World Series, albeit falling short each time.
Among reasons for optimism with this year’s team are injured players — such as Cody Bellinger, Tony Gonsolin and Zach McKinstry — expected to make their returns in the coming weeks, and Muncy emerging from his slump.
Turner: Dodgers need to focus on ‘little things’
Compounding the Dodgers’ offensive woes has been shaky defense and inability to put together an all-around game.
“I guess going through it before helps, but at the same time it’s not a matter of, ‘Oh, we’ve been through this before. We’re going to be fine, we’re going to get out of it,'” Justin Turner said.
“We’ve got to be proactive about it, play better, do the little things better and find ways to win ballgames.”
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