The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the season as the front-runners to win another World Series title, and a major slump a month into the season doesn’t change that too much.
But after beginning the year 13-2, the Dodgers have now lost 15 of their last 20 games and sit one game above .500. So, how does that make right-hander Trevor Bauer feel?
“I’m (irked), personally,” Bauer said (via MLB.com). “I frickin’ hate losing. I want to win. That’s why I came here. And we’re just not playing up to our capability right now.”
Bauer joined Los Angeles this offseason, coming off an N.L. Cy Young award with the Cincinnati Reds. He became the highest paid player per year in baseball this season with his three-year, $102 million deal.
Bauer has pitched well so far, too, but he hasn’t gotten much run support. On Sunday, he struck out nine batters and allowed four hits and two runs in six innings. But the Dodgers lost 2-1 to the Angels.
And in his other four no-decisions or losses, he’s given up no more than two earned runs in each. He holds a 2.50 ERA and has a team-high 67 strikeouts in his eight starts.
“It’s early and you can say it’s early and you can say there’s no need to panic and you can say all these things, and they’re all true,” Bauer said (via The Athletic), “but at the end of the day, we’re not just going to roll the bats and balls out there and win baseball games.”
The main cause for the blues in Los Angeles comes from the team’s slumping lineup. In the Dodgers’ 20-game span in which they’ve lost 15 contests, they’ve hit .221 and average 4.3 runs per game — and those numbers were improved by outliers, with Los Angeles scoring 14 runs Saturday and 16 runs May 2.
Cody Bellinger has missed more than a month with a leg injury. But an otherwise deep lineup hasn’t been able to fill the void, with plenty of players struggling at the plate. Max Muncy and Gavin Lux are hitting in the low-.200s this season, and Corey Seager’s on-base-plus-slugging percentage is .689 in his last 20 games, striking out 18 times in that stretch.
Plus, the Dodgers play in a competitive NL West. Los Angeles has slid to third place in the division with its recent downturn, while the San Francisco Giants lead the way at 20-14. The San Diego Padres, another perceived World Series contender, are in second place at 19-16.
“We’re not just going to sleepwalk our way to winning another division title and going to the World Series again,” Bauer said. “That’s not how it works. You’ve got to go out there and beat someone every day and we haven’t been good at it, we need to be better.”