You probably want to forget June, if you’re a Dodgers fan. The offense was a dud. The rotation was still makeshift. In the end, even the bullpen showed cracks.
The best the Dodgers could have hoped for was to weather the decline and try to move on.
Not exactly. After a few losing streaks and a few ugly moments, the Dodgers ended up exactly even for the month. They went 15-15. And they even gained ground in the division — on everyone.
June was not kind to the Dodgers, but it was worse to the rest of the National League West. The Arizona Diamondbacks were 13-14. The San Francisco Giants finished 12-14. So did the San Diego Padres. The Colorado Rockies went 12-17. Not a single team in the division played above .500 baseball for the month.
On the first day of June, the Dodgers held a half game lead. On the first day of July, the Dodgers’ lead is 1 1/2 games.
“We’re still right at the top of the division,” second baseman Howie Kendrick said. “So when you look back it and say man, we didn't play our greatest baseball, it feels good to know we're going to be a lot better.”
There are two ways to look at the Dodgers’ start. They were, perhaps, very fortunate no division rival capitalized on their stagnation. If one had gotten just a little hot, the Dodgers could be in a very different situation. And you could be discouraged that baseball’s most expensive team could muster just mediocrity.
Or you could look at it the way catcher Yasmani Grandal did. Can you imagine, he said, how big the Dodgers’ lead would be if they’d played to their potential?
“It just shows you, I’ve been saying it for a while, once our offense starts going, we’re going to start winning some games,” Grandal said. “And even when the offense wasn’t going, we were still winning games. We were finding out a way.”
He added: “It’s always good to not be playing your best and still be in first place.”
The offense will likely settle somewhere between the torrid start, when it averaged 5.3 runs per game, and the June swoon, when it averaged 3.9. And in July, the Dodgers’ front office will almost certainly make a move.
Starting pitching is the first priority, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. They’ve also shown they’re not afraid to make trades in bunches.
The team is hoping that will make July better. As Howie Kendrick put it, the Dodgers ran in place in June, but “I think we’re running in the right place, to be honest with you.”