Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter against the Rockies is the talk of the week surrounding the Dodgers. (Dodgers Facebook)
So Close to Perfection – Obviously the talk this week surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers has been about Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter for the ages against the Colorado Rockies Wednesday night. Kershaw was one Hanley Ramirez-error away from a perfect game; an error on a play that wasn’t quite a routine play, but wouldn’t have dropped any jaws had Ramirez executed correctly.
In very similar fashion, the Dodgers were one Kenley Jansen-inning away from having a perfect week as a team. The Dodgers held a 5-3 lead over the San Diego Padres heading into the ninth inning, with Jansen replacing Brian Wilson, who had a relatively worry-free eighth inning. Jansen gave up a single and two doubles before recording an out to make it 5-5, and a sacrifice deep fly to right by Everth Cabrera gave the Padres the walk-off win.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers finished the week 5-1 against the Rockies and Padres and sit four games behind the San Francisco Giants for first place in the NL West. The reason being four games behind the Giants is promising for the Dodgers is because, while the Giants are one of the surprise overachievers of the first half of the season, the Dodgers had been the biggest disappointment in all of baseball on account of their MLB-high $235 million payroll.
It was also at this point last season when the Dodgers put together a historic turnaround where they went 42-8 in a 50-game span. Although another run of that magnitude is highly unlikely, the Dodgers don’t need a drastic turnaround to their season because – again – they’re only four games behind.
The Arms – Going back to Jansen, he’s a guy who looks like the most dominant closer in the game one night, and like the biggest liability on the team other nights. Considering the Dodgers have – by far – the most expensive roster in all of baseball, having a guy like Jansen as the guy in charge of cementing a win is alarming going forward.
The Bats – Adrian Gonzalez is slowly hitting his way out of a slump, batting .270 in his last few games. While that isn’t necessarily a torrid pace, it’s a great sign when one of your everyday players starts.
Due to the fact that Dee Gordon wasn’t even a guarantee to make the Major League roster at the beginning of Spring Training, no one is surprised that his offensive productivity has dropped since the beginning of the season – nor should they be. But like Gonzalez, he has been above average during the past 10 games and is still batting .277, which is still higher than most expected when Don Mattingly opted to keep Alexander Guerrero in the minors in favor of Gordon.
But the true test for Gordon will come in the home stretch and during the postseason, if the Dodgers can get there. He leads the majors with 39 stolen bases, so if he can get on base with more consistency than he has in previous years, he can be a game-changing weapon for the Dodgers.
This Week – The Dodgers play both Missouri teams this week: They travel to Kansas City to face the Royals Monday night and return home for a four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals starting Thursday.