On paper, it was supposed to be a runaway. The Dodgers were going to win the NL West and roll into the playoffs this season. After having the highest paid team in the entire league, they looked to be dominant in every phase of the game. But games are not played on paper. The Giants have controlled the division this season and are currently the best team in the entire league. Here is a look at three problems the team has run into in Los Angeles this season.
During each of the last five seasons, Clayton Kershaw has remained relatively healthy and been able to make over 30 starts. This season after pitching on opening day in Australia, Kershaw tweaked his back and therefore missed a month of the season. While it only amounted to a few starts, losing the strongest arm in the game can definitely hurt a club.
Having a lights out bullpen takes a team from a contender to unstoppable. When the Dodgers resigned former Giant Brian Wilson this off-season, he was expected to be a lights-out eighth innings setup man. Instead, he has been anything, but unhittable. Through his first 30 appearances, Wilson has allowed 15 earned runs and had the highest walk rate of his entire career. His 5.55 ERA is much worse than ever expected coming out of the pen.
Just a few short years ago Matt Kemp was seen by many as the best player in the game. He could hit for power and average, and he was a threat to be the next 40-40 player. But recently, he has been anything thing but a superstar. Through his first 63 games, Kemp has batted a respectable .267, well below his career average. Instead of being a bat that has been feared, he is a bat that pitchers now attack. With others like Puig and Gonzalez performing, a Kemp outburst can help to take the lineup to a new level.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference