The pitcher who is arguably the greatest in history is in the midst of his best season, if you believe in statistics like Adjusted ERA+ and strikeout-to-walk ratio. But Clayton Kershaw is doing this on behalf of a team which has the sport’s highest payroll in Major League Baseball -- at a time when one-third of the NL teams will qualify for the playoffs and about one-third of the teams are non-competitive.
As of this morning, the Dodgers -- despite 12 wins in the 13 games started by Kershaw -- would not make the playoffs. After losing to Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks on Monday, and after the Giants’ win over Milwaukee, the Dodgers are six games out of first place in the NL West, and they are 2 ½ games out in the wild-card race. There are growing questions among folks inside and outside the organization whether L.A. needs to make a move , sooner rather than later, to bolster an offense which has evaporated.
Earlier this month, the Dodgers scored 20 runs in three games against the Braves, a team defenseless as it aims for a better future. In the other nine games in June, L.A. has compiled a total of 18 runs; the Dodgers rank 28th among the 30 teams.
There is a perception among some evaluators that the Dodgers might have a lineup loaded with players better suited to be complementary pieces in a batting order -- mistake hitters -- rather than high-end offensive players who can adequately combat good pitching. "They've got some names, but how many really good hitters do they have?" one scout asked rhetorically over the weekend, in the midst of a series in which the Dodgers were limited to eight runs in three games by the Giants. "Who are you really afraid of?"