HomeTeamsDodgersLegitimate Concerns Or April Swoon For Dodgers?

Legitimate Concerns Or April Swoon For Dodgers?

Given how early it is, it would be an overreaction to dwell on early successes or disappointments through the first weeks of the 2024 MLB season.

For a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the expectations are sky high given the offseason they had, so any sign of trouble is going to be magnified. After a 3-3 road trip against the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, they have followed it up with a 2-5 home stand dropping series to the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals.

With a recent loss to the red hot New York Mets, the Dodgers have now dropped three of their last four series and lost 8 of their last 13 games overall, while posting a 12-10 record.

They clearly haven’t put it all together as they’ve lost games for different reasons and appear to be caught in a collective slump.

In a loss to the Nationals, they were shut out at Dodger Stadium in a 2-0 loss with all of their star players in the lineup.

Against the Padres last weekend, their bullpen was responsible for coughing up some late leads which resulted in an extra innings loss and then a 6-4 loss last Sunday night. The pitching staff collectively issued 14 walks that night, the most in a 9-inning game in over 20 years.

Then in this recent 9-4 loss to the Mets, the so-called “reliable” relievers of Daniel Hudson, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier surrendered five more runs in the later innings in another loss that fell on their relief pitching.

However, it’s not just the pitching. While the “MVP Three” of Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman have been doing their job on most nights, but even they have struggled recently.

From the two-spot of the lineup, Ohtani is just 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position after hitting .317 last season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Freeman’s average has dropped to .259 as he has also struggled to come up with the big hits lately with men on base and has fallen into a slump.

The bottom third of the order consisting of James Outman, Chris Taylor, Gavin Lux, and occasionally Kike Hernandez and Miguel Rojas has been the glaring weakness of this team.

Lux, Outman, and Hernandez are batting below .200 and Taylor is well below .100, getting just his second hit of the season against the Mets on Friday night. Fortunately, it was a two-run single that tied the game.

It’s a collective struggle for the Dodgers right now, failing to consistently put together all four facets of the game over the past two weeks. 

Yes, it’s the middle of April, just 22 games into the marathon that is a 162-game season, and it’s way too early to panic about any team’s struggles. Not to mention the Dodgers have been slow starters in the past, particularly over this 10-year stretch of divisional dominance.

A slow, sluggish spring giving way to a hot, dominant summer on their way to another NL West title decided by the end of August has been a formula the Dodgers have subscribed to in the last 11 years.

The question is, should this be considered another April swoon of lackluster play or are there legitimate concerns for the Dodgers?

Well it could be both, but the fact is, this team is far from perfect.

The Dodgers are a top heavy team right now that can be beaten on any given night, and if an opposing pitcher can survive the “MVP Three” at the top of the lineup, they can navigate through the rest of the order without much stress.

The starting rotation’s inability to consistently go deep into ball games gives way to a bullpen that is getting taxed early with a lot of appearances. In turn, it makes even the most reliable arms more vulnerable to getting hit and surrendering runs, an increasing trend over the last two weeks.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the entire Guggenheim ownership group can’t be happy with what they’ve seen, but even they will be patient with this group and see if anybody can bust out of these early struggles, before looking at external solutions.

The Dodgers have set a high bar and with that comes pressure and seeing opponents bring their A-game every night. There should be some concerns for this high-priced, slumping squad, but this could still be that April swoon that burns off come summertime, but not the start we all expected with this team.

Chris Camello
Chris Camellohttps://mlbreport.com/
Chris Camello has been a sports writer, reporter, and podcaster for 11 years covering all of the major sports teams throughout Los Angeles as well as college and high school sports. He currently covers high school football, basketball, and baseball for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and co-hosts as sports podcast called “The Outlet Forum” available on all major streaming platforms.


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