Despite this big Dodger surge over the past six weeks or so, the team going from 9 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West to six games in front of second place Arizona, winning their last 15 road games to boot, injuries are continuing to threaten this club’s ambitions.
Matt Kemp’s sprained ankle is apparently more severe than was thought as it’s being said that the outfielder may not be back until September, Ted Lilly was recently released because the pitcher couldn’t overcome problems with his shoulder, rib cage, and neck, and fans are starting to hold their collective breaths every time Yasiel Puig steps into the batter’s box or goes after a fly ball.
Not to mention the anticipation over Hanley Ramirez’ throwing shoulder that was hurt in Chicago; he recently indicated that it felt much better and the Dodgers decided to wait to see if it heals further before giving him an MRI.
Don Mattingly’s team needs to be given much credit for stepping up and winning despite these setbacks, but the question remains:
Can the Dodgers continue to overcome these injuries and get to where they want to be – a division title and a possible trip to the World Series?
Right now it seems to some that luck is on L.A’s side, in that players like Kemp, (hopefully not) Ramirez – who missed a significant amount of time earlier in the season due to an injured thumb – Carl Crawford and Zack Greinke have all missed a lot of time while the team has survived those setbacks.
I’m sure that Dodger fans are wondering how long can this team hold on, especially if, Heaven forbid, anyone else goes down.
On the other hand, it has often been said that teams needs a little luck along with skill to win. Perhaps that’s what these Dodgers are experiencing at the moment.
Good contributions from the bullpen – particularly closer Kenley Jansen as he sports a ten-game save streak with a 1.10 earned run average in that span, saving 17 games overall this season – and utility players like Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston, Jr and Nick Punto have certainly helped as well.
After everything that’s been happening and continues to happen, I’m convinced that if these Dodgers are going to win the division and go deep in the postseason, it will be because of these unsung guys that I’ve just mentioned as well as the big names like Puig, Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw.
Putting it another way, it takes 25 players to win a championship in MLB, and to this point the Dodgers have been the epitome of that.
One can only hope that it continues as they face strong contender St. Louis this week.
And I, along with the millions of other Dodger fans, hope that the team can stay healthy for these next two months as that’s very important.
In other words, my answer to the question of whether or not the Dodgers can stay in one piece is:
I certainly hope so.