It’s early in the season for the Dodgers, but fans believe that the team is “just as confusing as ever.” Their performance so far has been mediocre—not looking great but not incredibly horrible either. Rather, Los Angeles’ very own baseball team has just been meeting the bar. In the sports world, it is said that more people have their attention focused on the Lakers or the Rams and that less and less fan turnout is seen. For reference, in their game on Tuesday, May 10, against the Mets, Trayce Thompson was able to beat the Mets with a two-out, ninth-inning, pinch-hit, walk-off homer into the Dodger Stadium’s left-field pavilion, which scored the Dodgers a 3-2 victory. In total, this gave the Dodgers a record of 17-16. The 2016 Los Angeles Dodger season marks the whopping 127th for the franchise in Major League Baseball. It also kicks off the 59th season residing in Los Angeles, CA. The team will be looking for their fourth straight NL West championship.
Changes in the Roster
Offseason the team announced on October 22, 2015 that their manager Don Mattingly would not be returning to the team for their 2016 season. In their five seasons as manager, he had a record of 4460363 and a .551 winning percentage which was the 2nd best in the entire Dodger history of Los Angeles. He has also led the team to win three straight National League West titles for their very first time ever in the franchise’s history. Later on in the year in November 23, the team announced Dave Roberts as their new manager. Roberts was, in fact, a former Dodger player. Another notable moment is that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully would retire from the Dodgers broadcast booth with the completion of the 2016 season. This season will be his 67th season with the team, the longest tenure with one team by any sports announcer in history. In addition, the team added Joe Davis to the broadcasting crew and is scheduled to work 50 road games alongside Orel Hereshiser and Nomar Garciaparra. The year has noticed several major changes to their rosters. From the Dodgers, Jimmy Robbins, Howie Kendrick, Brett Anderson, Zack Greinke, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Heisey, Chase Utley, Joel Peralta, Bronson Arroyo, Joe Wieland, Tyler Olson, and Ronald Torreyes, their additional roster received Danny Reynolds, Daniel Fields, Chase Utley, Ryler Olson, Micah Johnson, Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson, Todd Frazier, Jose Peraza, Brandon Dixon, Scott Schebler, Scott Kazmir, Brandon Beachy, Kenta Maeda, Howie Kendrick, Joe Blanton, Louis Coleman, and Yaisel Sierra.
During their early Spring Training, the Dodgers were informed that starting pitcher Brett Anderson needed surgery to repair a disc that was bulging out from his lower back which would require him to stay on the sidelines for the first three through four months of the season. Relief pitcher Josh Ravin then broke his left arm in a traffic accident putting him out as well. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez took time off to play for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers. The injury continued to negatively affect the team as Mike Bolsinger suffered a strained oblique and later non-roster pitcher Brandon Beachy got elbow tendinitis that really slowed down the pace of the game. Late March, outfielder Andre Ethier broke a leg, putting him out for 10-14 weeks.
The Starting Season
In April, the Dodgers started their season against the San Diego Padres on April 4 with Clayton Kershaw garnering his sixth straight opening day as the start of the Dodgers, allowing only one hit in seven innings with nine strikeouts. This went well as the Dodgers began their season with a 15-0 rout, signaling the best ever margin of victory in the franchise history and the first time winning six straight opening games. Eventually as time progressed and more games were played, the Dodgers ended up concluding the month of April on a six game losing streak with the loss of 5-2 for the Padres on April 30. Most recently in May, Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game, three-hit, 14 strikeout, and shutout on May 1, which effectively ended their losing streak. He was also able to drive-in the only run of the 1-0 victory over the Padres with a third inning single. Starting May 3, the Dodgers started their interleague road trip with two games against the Tampa Bay Rays. At the first game, they won 10-5. However, the Rays won the second game 8-5 due to the three-run homer by their own Steve Pearce. Against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Dodgers won 6-2. They ended their road trip with a 4-2 win on May 8.
So what’s the season looking like for this beloved team? Although it seems a bit rocky with ups and downs, it isn’t tremendously shabby. Fans and critics definitely believe the Dodgers can be stepping up their game whereas other people think that the team is okay so far. Only time will tell what will happen the rest of this season!
-By Bonnie Wong