Let me see a show of hands of all the Dodgers fans out there who are worried right now.
Who is actually entertaining even the slightest though that the Dodgers might pull a collapse that makes the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves of 2011 look forgivable?
Shame on all of you!
Am I concerned about the Dodgers’ 3-7 record over the past 10 games?
Am I happy the Dodgers started the month of September 3-0, but have gone 3-9 since then? Hardly!
However, I am not worried. The Dodgers won’t blow a 9.5-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks over the final 12 games of the season.
The Dodgers will win the National League West and will make the 2013 postseason. I just hope that they improve over the final two weeks of the season to build some positive momentum as the playoffs begin.
Why have the Dodgers fallen on hard times recently? What has turned them from Kate Upton to the Bearded Lady at the carnival?
Two main culprits have caused the Dodgers to turn an unflattering shade of blue – the disappearance of Hanley Ramirez and an absence of clutch hitting with runners in scoring position.
Ramirez has been the offensive cog for the Dodgers since he came off the disabled list in late May from his preseason thumb injury. Ramirez has virtually negated the absence of Matt Kemp’s bat by hitting .342 since then with 18 homers and 53 RBIs.
It should be no surprise, then, that since Ramirez went out with a hamstring strain against the Giants on Sept. 12 that Los Angeles is 0-4. Without Ramirez in the lineup, the Dodgers haven’t been hitting.
Over the past four games without Ramirez, the Dodgers have gone a combined 3-for-37 with runners in scoring position. Also over that span, Los Angeles has stranded a total of 35 base runners.
As a result, the close games that the Dodgers were previously winning are turning into big, fat “L’s.” Five of the Dodgers’ past nine losses have been by one run.
After the series against Arizona, the Dodgers close the season with three games each against the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies. No one would enjoy ruining the Dodgers’ season more than the Giants, so there will be no playing all the prospects in that series.
Adding more fuel to the Los Angeles bonfire of concern is this little tidbit: The Dodgers are a combined 24-24 against these three teams this season.
Guess what, though? Ramirez was back in the lineup against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. The Dodgers also have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke to help prevent any late-season collapse. Kemp is also back and is ready to contribute.
The moral of this Dodgers story? “Step away from the ledge, Dodger fans. The boys are gonna be alright!