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Dodgers Dugout: The ship is sinking, but the Dodgers keep paddling

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I finally realized the problem: I haven’t been wearing my lucky Dodgers socks.

Random thoughts

The Dodgers have lost 15 of their last 16 games, and some will tell you that it doesn’t matter, because a lot of teams have stumbled into the postseason and won the World Series. I was even saying that when they lost five of six, or seven of eight. But 15 of 16? That’s a different kettle of fish. How bad is this 1-15 skid? Let’s look at the worst 16-game stretches by Dodgers teams since 1901:

0-16, 1944 Dodgers (-66 run differential)

1-15, 2017 Dodgers (-55)

1-15, 1937 Dodgers (-46)

1-15, 1909 Dodgers (-53)

1-15, 1908 Dodgers (-32)

See? It’s the second-worst stretch of 16 games in modern Dodgers history.

The worst part is you can’t pin it on any one thing. The starting pitching is bad one night, the bullpen is bad the next. Then errors sink the team, then lack of timely hitting. It’s really amazing to watch. The Dodgers seem to give up three runs in the first inning every game.

Meanwhile, no one on the team gives the appearance of caring, other than Clayton Kershaw after his bad outing on Thursday. Everyone gives the appearance of “Hey, we’re still going to win the division, why is everyone so worried?”

Justin Turner after Sunday’s loss: “Just sitting back and saying ‘We’re still the best team in baseball’ isn’t the answer. Because regardless of what the record says, right now we’re the worst team in baseball. What we did three months ago doesn’t mean a whole lot right now. No one in this league is going to feel sorry for us. No one in this league is going to show up and be like, ‘Oh, poor Dodgers.’ There are a bunch of sharks in the water. We’re bleeding a little bit right now. I think teams are smelling the blood.”

I think you’re bleeding more than just a little bit. The Dodgers’ could get a mascot out of all this though. License Alfred E. Neuman from Mad magazine. “What, me worry?”

Then you have Dave Roberts, who appears to have been suddenly possessed by the ghost of Don Mattingly, sitting there dispassionately while the losses keep piling up. His latest gem? “Just got to shake your head and laugh. We’re doing some unprecedented things right now.”

Actually, I’m not sure if shaking your head and laughing is really the best reaction.

And when he finally does get mad about something, who is the target of his anger? The fans. He got mad at Dodgers fans for booing Pedro Baez.

Here’s the thing that Roberts is missing. Dodgers fans have been down this road many times with Baez. We’ve seen him put up impressive numbers. Then, when the pressure is on, we’ve seen him fall apart faster than a Jenga tower in a room full of pre-schoolers. So we aren’t booing him just for this season, we are booing him for seasons past where he has given up key home runs to cost the team important games. And we see it happening again, and see no one seeming to care that the team has lost 10 in a row, so booing rains down on the field.

Instead of getting mad at fans about it, how about using the boos as a motivational tool? Because the days of “I guarantee we will win another game” are over.

I could go on, but I would just be repeating what I have written for a week now. I don’t want to be Mr. Negative, but I don’t want to stick my head in the sand either.

This is not a normal dry spell. It’s not worth losing sleep over it if you are a fan. Let’s hope today’s game begins the turnaround we are waiting for.

Wait, they’re playing the Giants next, a team they can’t seem to beat even when they are playing well? Let’s hope the turnaround begins Friday then.

The sacrifice

A lot of fans are wondering why the Dodgers never sacrifice a runner into scoring positions, especially in games where one run can mean all the difference. There are a couple of reasons.

1. Most major leaguers can’t bunt. They never are asked to, and those skills atrophy after a while. Sure, you can bunt during batting practice, but that is totally different from trying to bunt a 92-mph slider.

2. Most if not all sabermetricians will tell you a bunt is a waste of an out. You have only 27 outs in a game, and giving up one just to move up a runner is not the best use of an out. Metrics tell them that a runner moving up a base is not worth the loss of an out, particularly if you are using a position player to bunt.

In case you missed it

Curtis Granderson is now 8 for 70 with the Dodgers, a sterling .114 batting average.

Since Aug. 16, Alex Wood is 0-2 with an ERA of 6.35.

Note to the rest of the NL

If you have a pitcher that is struggling, pencil him in to start against the Dodgers if you can. That will cure him.

Next series

Monday, 7:15 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Kenta Maeda, 12-6, 4.02) at San Francisco (Chris Stratton, 2-3, 4.10)

Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 16-3, 2.15) at San Francisco (Ty Blach, 8-12, 4.81)

Wednesday, 7 p.m. PT, Dodgers (Yu Darvish, 8-12, 4.25 overall and 2-3, 5.34 with the Dodgers) at San Francisco (Johnny Cueto, 7-7, 4.43)

Note: Pitchers are subject to change.

Reminder

For those of you living in the L.A. area, three Dodgers games will be on KTLA-TV Ch. 5 the rest of the season. All of them will be on a Tuesday. They are:

Sept. 12, 7:15 p.m. at San Francisco

Sept. 19, 4 p.m. at Philadelphia

Sept. 26, 7 p.m. vs. San Diego

And finally

Dodgers are still committed to Yu Darvish despite his rough starts.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter:@latimeshouston

Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimeshouston

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