The Los Angeles Dodgers largely stormed through the first half of the season and collected a respectable 17 wins during August but are in the midst of a 4-6 stretch as the calendar turned to September.
After leaving Petco Park with back-to-back victories and a series win, the Dodgers have dropped three in a row to the Arizona Diamondbacks despite holding a 3-0 lead in each contest. Clayton Kershaw became the latest to stumble, as familiar home-run struggles surfaced at Chase Field.
While the Dodgers aren’t in danger of suddenly losing their stranglehold on the National League West, their advantage over the Atlanta Braves has been trimmed to 4.5 games, and the New York Yankees now are 1.5 games ahead for the best overall record.
Despite their recent struggles, Kershaw kept the focus on moving forward rather than offering any in-depth assessment on the Dodgers’ play, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I can’t even remember yesterday, hardly, so I don’t really think of it. Momentum’s a weird thing in baseball, because you’re only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. Come out tomorrow … Strip’s going to set the tone and we’ll be ready to go.”
Kershaw allowed a season-worst five runs in what was also his shortest start of the year at five innings. That snapped a streak of going at least six innings, which he’d accomplished in each of his 23 previous starts this season.
Kershaw additionally failed to turn in a quality start for the first time since June 29 — a span of nine consecutive outings. It’s also the first time he’s suffered back-to-back losses this season.
Furthermore, coming two straight starts in which he allowed three home runs both times out — a season-high — the left-hander surrendered two to the Diamondbacks. Kershaw’s 23 home runs match a career-worst mark initially set in 2017.
The Dodgers enter the final month of the regular season with their magic number to clinch a seventh consecutive NL West title still at a manageable nine games. They additionally are poised to see the returns of Dylan Floro, David Freese and Ross Stripling, with Rich Hill and Alex Verdugo potentially coming off the injured list within the next two weeks.