Los Angeles Dodgers: What exactly is going wrong?

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 3 : Dave Roberts (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 3 : Dave Roberts (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Despite owning an MLB best  92-45 record, panic may be creeping into the fan base of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The boys in blue are 1-9 in their last 10 games.

Oh how quickly the tides can turn. Two weeks ago and every fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, including myself, were riding high. Almost every baseball mind agreed that the Dodgers were the best team in baseball and the path to the World Series never seemed clearer. Now, heading into the dog days of September, that optimism has been displaced with panic.

There are multiple different outlets that Dodger fans are pointing the finger toward. Some call it the Sports Illustrated cover curse. Others signal it was the Granderson trade, few say it is because of Adrian Gonzalez.

Regardless of what it is, the Dodgers look like a shell of the best team in baseball they were just two weeks ago. These concerns were capped off Labor Day; when the Diamondbacks stomped the Dodgers 12-0 behind J.D. Martinez‘ four home runs.

There is no other way to paint it, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been bad the last week and a half. Los Angeles is 1-9 in their last ten games. Their only win? A 1-0 victory against the 62-76 San Diego Padres. Sure, ten games out of 162 are not going to make or break the season, but Los Angeles was one run away from being 0-10 in their last ten.

This is all the sourer considering the Diamondbacks are riding an 11 game win streak. While they still have some ground to cover, being 12.5 games back, the Dodgers at least have some pressure on them. All in all, their struggles are epitomized by their 25-59 run differential in the last ten games.

So, what exactly is going wrong?

First of all, opposing teams are jumping on the Dodgers early. Of the nine losses, six of which the opposing teams scored in the first inning. In the series in Arizona, the Diamondbacks outscored the Dodgers 10-0 in the first inning. Teams have realized something: don’t let the Dodgers get ahead, make them adversity as they have not faced it all season long.

The underlying problem though has been the Dodgers’ bats, in particular, their performance with runners in scoring position. Los Angeles is batting .241 with runners in scoring position, last night the team didn’t field a single runner on second or third.

This team has thrived on opportunistic hitting. How many times throughout the season were they down and out, only to pull off some miraculous comeback and win the game? While there have been valiant efforts, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not been able to pull that rabbit out of the hat. The big moments they’ve been coming up in during June, July and August are gone.

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For the most part, though, this is because of the lineups the Dodgers are running. The Dodgers have not run their best nine hitters in one lineup since, arguably, their mid-August series against the White Sox. While Joc Pederson has been completely out of the picture, the last few weeks for LA has been juggling different pieces.

That has to have a direct correlation to the performance on the field. Corey Seager has not been in the lineup since August 27, perhaps the biggest blow to the Dodgers.

With Seager behind him, Chris Taylor has been able to thrive at the lead off spot. Then, Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger would all follow suit.

That is a dangerous top four, a top four that has produced many runs and has allowed the Dodgers to jump out to early leads. One hole in that four will change everything, now, pitchers can pick their poison in Taylor and give Turner and Bellinger nothing to work with.

All in all, you can sum this dry spell from the Los Angeles Dodgers up as a drought. Ask me the same question in two weeks, and my answer may be different. However, the pitching staff is having an unusual hiccup and the team is missing key pieces.

Next: Bellinger sets yet another Dodger record

This may be a shell of the Los Angeles Dodgers team from just six weeks ago, but when you look at it, it almost isn’t the same team entirely. As the players rest and get ready for October, the Los Angeles Dodgers will still be the most dangerous team.