What is it that the Dodgers still seem to lack?

What is it that the Dodgers still seem to lack?
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Washington's Adam LaRoche in the ninth inning Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

What’s missing? Something is slightly off about the Dodgers this season, something difficult to quantify, to place in simple, measurable terms.

They're not a bad team, but they're certainly not a great one, at least to this point. They're a team that's been simmering all season yet seemingly no closer to a finished product.


They have no discernible identity. No trademark to their style of play, to their approach and means of winning baseball. No real leader, aside from Clayton Kershaw.

There's no particular edge to these Dodgers, no visible sense of urgency.

They're a confounding, slightly maddening team. A team of superstars that's playing pretty well. Great talent, middling production.

And yet here they are, leading the division by two games over the Giants, with everything still very much possible.

Do you feel good about their chances? Do you really know how to feel? Shouldn't you by now?

The Dodgers have 22 games left in the regular season to morph into a recognizable team, a determined, hungry, unified squad that will use any means at their disposal to squeeze out wins and a title.

It could still happen, though it's hard to believe in when September has arrived and they still seem more a nice collection of players than a team to fear.