For about two months -- probably longer -- last season in the Official Power Rankings, number one was boring. No, the Dodgers weren't a boring team. I'm saying it was boring for me in the decision-making process because they were so head-and-shoulders above every other team that I didn't even have to think about number one. It was just mindless. Automatic. Every week, I go to open my document and the first thing was "1. Dodgers."
At one point in 2017, the Dodgers were 91-36, which was a full season pace of 116 wins. That would've tied the all-time record. They would eventually finish with an MLB-best 104 wins and take the NL pennant. They won Game 1 of the World Series, too! Of course, they closed that series by losing four of the next six games.
And now, look at 2018. Dreadful. I'm not sure we can say "everything," but nearly everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong.
- Justin Turner hasn't yet played a game after breaking his wrist in spring training.
- Corey Seager is out for the season.
- Most of the rotation has been injured, and Clayton Kershaw is currently on the DL.
- Kenley Jansen was horrible to start the season and still isn't missing bats like he used to.
- Several players aren't coming close to what they did last season, specifically Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor.
After salvaging a win against the Diamondbacks last Wednesday, it looked like go time for the Dodgers. They had a four-game series at home with the hapless Reds followed by a three-gamer in Miami against the hapless Marlins.
Instead, maybe we should just start calling the Dodgers hapless. They were swept in four games by the Reds. You know, the Reds that came into town with an NL-worst 10-27 record.
These Dodgers are short-handed, don't have near as much depth as they were credited with heading into the season and just look plain bad. Will the returns of Turner and/or Kershaw really be enough to save them? I'm just not so sure. We can't keep saying "it's early" forever, either. The Dodgers have played 40 games, which is just about 1/4 of the season. They are eight games out in the NL West and are actually pretty damn close to having the worst record in the NL. Hell, they're only 4 1/2 games up on the White Sox for the worst record in all of baseball. They are on pace for a 65-97 record.
The Dodgers could still rebound and make the playoffs. If they did that, of course they could win the World Series. All you have to do is make the postseason and then anything goes. It's just becoming awfully hard to keep toeing that "they'll be fine" line with the "it's early" talk when they're sitting 16-24 after being swept by the team with the worst record in the NL. I've been joking these last two weeks about the level of panic with "DEFCON" readings and I'd honestly go to DEFCON2. They aren't done, but they're on the verge of me -- and many others -- giving up on them. There's only so much a hole a team can dig before it being inescapable.
|They already have four players with at least 10 homers. No other team has more than two. The Bronx Bombers indeed.||--||36-33|
|While Mookie Betts rightfully gets praised heaped on him, don't ignore the impact J.D. Martinez (.342/.394/.624, 10 HR, 33 RBI) is having here.||--||42-28|
|After they lost five of six, they've now won five of six. Ultimately meaningless, but fun symmetry nonetheless.||1||41-28|
|Man, I absolutely hate what's happened to Adam Eaton with injuries these last two years. He was durable before that, too. Just terrible fortune.||3||31-35|
|Five straight losses, but they had previously built up a ton of credit. They're fine for now.||2||20-51|
|Andrelton Simmons -- the best defensive player in baseball -- is hitting .338/.405/.500. That'll play.||1||35-35|
|Before the week started, the Cubs had played one of baseball's toughest schedules. They then did what they were supposed to do and got fat against the Marlins and White Sox.||2||39-31|
|The breakout season isn't only reserved for the position players. Sean Newcomb is now 4-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings.||3||32-35|
|Aaron Nola: Ace.||8||33-34|
|The Corey Knebel injury is something that will likely be a blessing in the long run. The rest of the bullpen was forced to step up and now he's back. The bullpen as a whole has been unbelievable and likely will continue to be, too.||6||38-32|
|Sweep the Cubs and then lose four of six to the Twins and Padres. Sure, why not? Baseball, man.||3||35-35|
|I need to stop saying this is going to be Gregory Polanco's breakout year. Much like "fetch," I now fear this will never happen.||3||24-44|
|The weird home/road thing continued this week. After an incredible road trip pushed their road record to 15-8, they came home to lose four of six. They are now 7-11 in Coors Field.||7||30-41|
|Now back to one game above .500, the Tribe could use a series win in Detroit this week. After that they've got three in Houston, two in Wrigley Field and then four more against the Astros.||1||38-29|
|Seattle baseball luck, man. They're looking like a playoff-caliber team and then Robinson Cano breaks his hand. Sucks!||3||36-36|
|A bit of a funk for the Jays, losers of seven of their last 10.||2||33-35|
|Despite the walk-off loss Sunday, the Twins are going well. It's remarkable that they were 9-16 through May 1 and on May 8 were within a 1/2 game in the AL Central.||5||28-41|
|So much for hyping them up.||8||45-25|
|Rough week, but playing the Astros and Yankees will cause great pain. It doesn't get any easier. The A's head to Boston next.||1||44-27|
|The Mets are now 2-9 with a batting order snafu in May. To quote the great George Costanza, "this isn't going well."||1||35-27|
|I did think about dropping them further, but every team behind is rebuilding. That it was even a thought is an indictment of this team.||1||42-27|
|The Tigers are only three games out! Viva la AL Central dumpster fire.||2||29-41|
|Clayton Richard is not good, but every once in a while he'll drop in a gem. Case in point, in his last two starts, he's gone 16 innings (eight each), allowing only five runs while striking out 18.||--||40-32|
|The Rangers need to try and play more extra-inning games, apparently. They are 4-0 in extras and just 12-26 in nine-inning affairs.||1||25-44|
|That's wins in five of their last six and here they come. I'm telling you, it's going to be one of the most historic turnarounds we've ever seen in MLB. Nah, just kidding.||5||23-46|
|Just when it looked like they might be respectable, the Rays have lost six of seven, including three of four to the lowly Orioles.||5||43-28|
|Looks like Luis Castillo might be righting the ship. After a 7.85 ERA in the season's first month, he's now pitched to a 3.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings in his three May starts.||2||35-33|
|Everyone with a brain knows judging pitchers primarily based on their W-L record is ignorant, but it's still interesting when oddities arise. Here's one: Jose Urena is 0-6. The pace? Yes, the pace. He's on pace to go 0-24. That would be something.||2||30-39|
|Danny Duffy could be a nice trade chip for the rebuilding Royals, but he is 1-5 with a 6.51 ERA after getting shellacked on Sunday by the Indians (whose offense hasn't exactly been stellar so far).||2||31-37|
|Matt Davidson last season was basically all or nothing. He hit .220 with a .260 OBP. He struck out 165 times compared to 19 walks. He also hit 26 homers in 414 at-bats. This year, he's much more well-rounded, hitting .261/.383/.591 with 11 homers. Nice player.||2||43-27|