Many believed the Dodgers would win the National League West in 2013. Most of those who didn't thought the Dodgers would, at least, contend. The few who are left over figured the Dodgers would at least win a few within the division. As it turns out, everyone has been wrong about the Dodgers, who are 9-22 against the National League West.
(KennethHan/public domain image)
By BILL PETERSON
Big Leagues in Los Angeles
As it happens, there is one factor that accounts, more than any other, for the failure of the Dodgers in 2013. And everyone on the West Coast knows what it is.
The Dodgers are the whipping boys of the region. They can't win in their own neighborhood. No wonder they're in last place. No wonder they're the only team in the National League West that isn't within three games of the top.
We might be willing to give the Dodgers a pass for their 6-3 loss in San Diego Thursday evening. The Dodgers flew across country from New York overnight to reach San Diego, where the Padres greeted them with defensive gem after defensive gem. It just wasn't going to be for the Dodgers. In every team's season, there are about 50 games per year that are going to be losses, no matter what, and Thursday was one of those days for the Dodgers.
But the Dodgers can't be passed for their work, generally, against the Padres this season. Nor, for that matter, can the Dodgers be passed for their work against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies or the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers are 9-22 now against the National League West. That's not a misprint. A good many people thought the Dodgers would win this division in 2013. Even those who didn't expect the Dodgers to win this division figured they would at least compete for the title. And the very few left who didn't even think the Dodgers would compete for the division title were certain that the Dodgers would win their fair share of games within the division.
Instead, we're getting 9-22.
Offensively, this year, the Dodgers are scoring 3.56 runs per game with a .697 OPS. Both of those numbers are in the bottom half of the National League.
But against NL West competition, the Dodgers are even worse.
Against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have a .720 OPS, but it does them little good, as they have scored only 29 runs in nine games, averaging 3.22 runs per game. The Giants have held the Dodgers below their meager league marks in both categories. The defending World Champions have kept the Dodgers to a .680 OPS and 20 runs in six games, and average of 3.33 runs per game.
The Dodgers play half of their games against Colorado in Coors Field, known far and wide for inflating offensive totals. And so it goes for the Dodgers, to some degree, for they have scored 26 runs in six games against Colorado, an average of 4.33 runs per game. But their OPS against Colorado still is only .689. Against San Diego, the Dodgers have a .762 OPS, their best mark within the division. But putting people on base and hitting doubles seems to not help the Dodgers score against anyone, and the Padres are no exception. Dodgers have scored 33 runs in 10 games against the Padres, 3.3 runs per game.
Pitching hasn't been as awesome for the Dodgers as they had hoped, but it hasn't been the root of their problem, either. The Dodgers have a staff ERA of 3.83, just a tick beneath the league average of .3.80. Then again, when you look at the Dodgers' offensive scoring averages against the NL West, you know that giving up 3.8 earned runs per game is going to lose a lot more games than it will win.
Unfortunately, Dodgers pitching isn't even that good against the NL West. Their ERAs against NL West opponents this season are 4.37 against Arizona, 6.09 against Colorado, 5.11 against San Diego and, finally, against the Giants, a respectable 3.44.
The Dodgers have fallen to their low water mark this season, 11 games below .500 at 30-41. They remain tantalizingly close, only 8 1/2 games out of first place in a division where no team has been able to take command. But that's no reason to think the Dodgers can put together a surge and jump into the race.
Not unless or until they can beat the teams within the division.