The Dodgers received’t look again on the previous week as one in every of their best this 12 months.
They misplaced a division collection to the Arizona Diamondbacks because of sloppy play and unproductive offense. Their bullpen faltered for one of many first instances this season on Saturday, resulting in a loss towards the Detroit Tigers on the night time Clayton Kershaw set the membership’s profession strikeout document.
Even after they pulled out Sunday’s rubber match towards the Tigers, supervisor Dave Roberts and his gamers echoed the identical message.
“The final week I don’t assume we’ve performed actually good baseball,” Roberts stated.
“Going ahead,” added outfielder Mookie Betts, “now we have to be higher.”
Nonetheless, the Dodgers are nonetheless 14-7 and start the month of Could tied for the lead within the division, with a giant two-game collection towards the San Francisco Giants on deck this week.
Listed here are 4 takeaways on the place the Dodgers stand:
Kahnle again, prepared for leverage function
Sixteen months after signing with the Dodgers in December 2020, and nearly two years after present process Tommy John surgical procedure in August of that 12 months, Tommy Kahnle took the mound for the Dodgers in an everyday season sport for the primary time Sunday afternoon.
The suitable-hander was spectacular in his workforce debut, pitching a scoreless sixth inning with two strikeouts. His fastball was sharp, touching 98 mph. His changeup was even higher, inducing a whiff all thrice it was swung at.
“It was a fairly special occasion,” stated Kahnle, an eight-year MLB veteran who received harm whereas pitching for the New York Yankees in 2020. “It’s been a protracted street, it actually has.”
After signing a two-year cope with the Dodgers two offseasons in the past, Kahnle spent most of 2021 rehabilitating in Arizona, “grinding away” by means of the monotonous every day routine of restoration.
He was pitching once more by the beginning of this spring, however couldn’t get constructed up in time for opening day. As an alternative, he went out on a minor-league rehab project that he accomplished this week.
The suitable-hander acknowledged the method took longer, and was mentally tougher, than he ever anticipated.
“Now,” he added, “I’m simply excited to be right here and assist the workforce.”
Kahnle’s return couldn’t have come at a greater time for the Dodgers, both.
With set-up man Blake Treinen out for the foreseeable future with a shoulder damage — Roberts reiterated Sunday that Treinen’s restoration is “gonna be an extended course of” — Kahnle may assist compensate in key leverage innings.
“He’s going to be a leverage man for us going ahead,” Roberts stated, noting that Kahnle’s fastball-changeup arsenal might be efficient towards each right- and left-handed hitters.
“To form of get that first one underneath his belt, I do know there was lots of adrenaline, feelings.”
Bellinger cooling off
Two weeks in the past, Cody Bellinger had one of many hottest bats in baseball.
The final seven days, nonetheless, it cooled off once more.
Bellinger went only one for 22 in six video games towards the Diamondbacks and Tigers, placing out eight instances whereas drawing only one stroll. His lone hit got here Sunday, when he pulled an RBI double down the right-field line.
Any hope the workforce had that he’d rounded a nook paused, with the middle fielder enduring the most recent dip in his curler coaster begin to the season.
Roberts stated there was “much more raise” in Bellinger’s swing in latest days, following a three-homer efficiency the prior week that earned him NL participant of the week honors.
“In my eyes, he must get again to the center of the sphere, he must get again to extra of a line drive method,” Roberts stated. “Pitches that he was squaring as much as the massive a part of the sphere early on, are popped up [now].”
Bellinger did have a superb week defensively, making a number of spectacular catches in heart discipline. Nonetheless, nearly a month into the season, his general batting numbers proceed to fluctuate, together with his batting common right down to .208 and his on-base-plus-slugging share at simply .715.
Buehler leaning on cutter
Although he has pitched 14 scoreless innings throughout his previous two begins, Walker Buehler remains to be looking for a constant really feel for many of his arsenal proper now.
The one exception: His cutter, which has emerged as maybe his greatest pitch throughout the first month of the season.
Buehler rode the cutter throughout his five-inning begin Sunday, throwing it 28% of the time. Of the 20 instances the Tigers swung at it, 9 had been whiffed and 6 had been fouled again. It accounted for 3 strikeouts. It additionally induced a key double play within the fourth inning.
“Threw some good cutters in some spots,” Buehler stated.
Buehler didn’t throw a cutter throughout his transient debut season in 2017. However since 2018, it has change into an more and more vital a part of his combine, now trailing solely his fastball in utilization charge.
This 12 months, he’s getting a few of his greatest outcomes with the pitch, too. Opponents are batting simply .222 towards it and whiffing on swings nearly one-third of the time.
“I believe I’m manipulating it a bit of bit extra,” Buehler stated, “getting it form of up and down by way of the form, after which with the ability to change that a bit of bit.”
Pitching plans for Giants collection
The Dodgers tweaked the order of their pitching rotation forward of this week’s two-game collection towards the San Francisco Giants.
Julio Urías was pushed ahead to begin Tuesday’s sport (he’ll nonetheless be on regular relaxation due to Monday’s off day). Wednesday’s starter stays to be decided, with the Dodgers weighing whether or not to go together with Tony Gonsolin (who had been a spot forward of Urías within the rotation to begin the 12 months), a bullpen sport or another mixture.
“We haven’t dedicated to Wednesday,” Roberts stated.
The Dodgers are additionally starting to plan for a busy upcoming stretch of their schedule. After their two-game set with the Giants, they’ve an off day Thursday, then start a stretch of 31 video games in 31 days that may final till June 5.
Roberts stated the workforce will doubtless want an additional starter for at the very least a part of that stretch, however these plans haven’t been finalized but.