On the stat sheets, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in elite company, but for whatever reason all of the accolades have not had a major impact on the win-loss column thus far. The Dodgers were an unspectacular 15-15 in the month of May and have a hefty 7.5 game deficit to overcome already in the National League West. Injuries and inconsistency have been the two things holding the Dodgers back from a similar run like they had last season. This team still has some big questions to answer following a very perplexing month of ups and downs.
The Dodgers are seventh in baseball in scoring runs. In fact, they were 11-1 in May when scoring at least six runs in a game. The problem was the consistency because in in ten of those twelve games, the Dodgers failed to score more than four runs in the next contest. This lineup and pitching staff has not collectively performed at any point during this short season because a handful of players are always in a slump. In the month of May, Yasiel Puig led the National League in batting average, homers and RBI. Hanley Ramirez drove in 21 runs, Dee Gordon swiped 21 bags and Carl Crawford had come around before getting injured. For the most part, everyone outside of Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez had a great month, but there were too many all-or-nothing type games where either everyone contributes or no one does.
In 38 of L.A.’s 58 games, the team has scored either seven runs or more, or three runs or less. On May 25 with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers won consecutive series for the first time since the first five games of the year. They then followed it up by losing four out of the next five, which has landed them in the month of June stuck on the treadmill of mediocrity.
Dodgers Pitcher of the Month: Josh Beckett
The argument could have been made for Zack Greinke, but the no-hitter trumped all. Beckett has been a revelation for Don Mattingly’s club so far and has given the rotation an added boost that it was not counting on heading into the season. Beckett went 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA in the month, including his masterful no-hitter against the Phillies. He has given up no earned runs in four of his ten starts this season after doing so only twice in his previous 48 starts before this year. Beckett has been everything the Dodgers could have hoped for and has rounded out their rotation behind the usual horses in Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers Player of the Month: Yasiel Puig
Who else? He led the NL in average, homers and RBI, and he continues to do it with his usual flair and cockiness. The only difference is that now that he is becoming a legitimate MVP threat, there is much less griping across baseball about his antics. All the naysayers rooting for him to fail have to learn to accept that he is for real and not just a flash in the pan. Mattingly recently moved him down to third in the batting order to ignite a fire in this team like he did last year. The only thing holding Puig back from the MVP trophy at the moment is probably his teammates underperforming and not helping him win games.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Los Angeles Dodgers