Embarking on an eight game road trip away from Chavez Ravine, the Los Angeles Dodgers entered Saturday having taken the first two games of a four game set with the Chicago Cubs.
Their latest victory on Friday afternoon moved the team’s post All Star Game record to 12-2 and they are now a MLB best 29-7 since June 22. The victory on Friday also marked their 12th consecutive road win, tying a franchise record from 1924 when they were known as the Brooklyn Robins.
Detailing their attitude change, the Dodgers are once again refusing to relent, relying on timely hitting and taking advantage of their opponent’s mistakes, scoring six runs in each of their two road victories over the Cubs.
The offensive firepower is a welcomed sight for Dodger fans who had seen their team’s bats cool off during the homestand against the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.
At the conclusion of the series vs. the Cubs on Sunday, the Dodgers will move on to Busch Stadium to face the St. Louis Cardinals and conclude their eight game road trip.
Some cause for concern?
As fantastic as the Dodgers have been over the last six weeks, there have been moments of bewilderment and frustration.
In the final game of the series with the New York Yankees, the Dodgers had the opportunity to escape the top of the ninth only trailing by one run.
Instead, Yasiel Puig and Mark Ellis failed to properly communicate on a flyball with two outs and collided, allowing the ball to drop and two more runs to score.
Statistically the error didn’t prove costly, as the Dodgers weren’t able to muster up one run on legendary Yankee closer Mariano Rivera (which would have tied the game had the error not occurred). However, from a psychological point of view, it may have played a factor. Needing only one run as opposed to three against Rivera is a drastic difference.
As exciting, inspiring, and much needed as his play has been, Puig continues to show signs of youth and inexperience. By no means is he expected to be perfect, but to expect him to be more fundamentally sound isn’t beyond reason. The Dodgers have been fortunate to win the majority of games where he has a base running blunder or strikes out three times, often chasing bad pitches.
For a team that has been stuck at average and below average in recent years, it is past time for the Dodgers to be great. They are certainly talented enough and their recent run is an indication they are capable of being just that.
However, in order reach the level of greatness and sustain it for a long period of time, the Dodgers must eliminate or at the very least minimize the careless and self-inflicted mistakes.
It would be extremely disappointing should they find themselves playing in October and unraveling due their own carelessness.