Dodgers Dugout: Might as well pack it up for this season

The Dodgers' Freddie Freeman.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and the season is over.

The Dodgers are 1-2 and can’t possibly make up the distance between them and the first-place team in the National League West. I mean, why even try. The first three games are always exactly how the entire season will go, meaning the Dodgers will finish 54-108 and the only guy on the team who will hit homers is Austin Barnes, who will finish with 54.

OK, now that we have that out of the way for the more pessimistic of you writing to me out there, let’s be real.

It’s only three games. You don’t get a real sense for how good or bad a team might be until at least 40 games. If the Dodgers are 10-30, then we can worry. Last season, they were 18-17 after 35 games, putting them on pace to finish 83-79. They won 106 games. The 2018 team was 4-9 at one point. They won 92 games and made it to the World Series. The 2017 team was 10-12 and won 104 games and made it to the World Series.

In Denver to open the season, the offense was shaky.

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Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger are all hitting below .200. Mookie Betts struck out twice with runners on base Sunday, stranding five runners. There wasn’t as much patience as usual at the plate. The Dodgers had only three doubles (two by Chris Taylor) and one homer in three games. In Denver. Those aren’t good things. But the Dodgers did outhit the Rockies in Sunday’s loss and probably would have won if not for some shoddy defense.

I got two emails after Taylor misplayed that ball in left field Sunday. If he catches the ball, the inning is over. Instead, it leads to three runs scoring. The emails said AJ Pollock would have caught the ball.

Pollock misplayed a ball on opening day to lead to a loss for the Chicago White Sox. Or, as Norman Dale said in “Hoosiers”, “I would hope you support who we are, not who we are not.”

More troubling is that Julio Urías’ velocity was down compared with last season. He said he didn’t have command of his pitches. Tony Gonsolin went his usual three innings and out. Craig Kimbrel gave up a run in his only appearance.

But take a deep breath and relax. They play 162 games for a reason. if you get upset after every loss, you’re doing it the hard way.

Why is Kershaw starting Wednesday?

By the time Clayton Kershaw takes the mound Wednesday in Minnesota, every member of the Dodgers’ rotation, including Andrew Heaney, will have made a start. Why?

“To have him in the five slot allowed for him to get the full buildup,” Dave Roberts said, and then, referring to a bullpen session Kershaw threw last week, continued, “So now for him to go five [innings] and 75 [pitches], to then go into his first start, gives us a better chance not only that day but also days following with him and managing the bullpen. That’s the thought behind it.”


Ned Colletti retires

Former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who also was a commentator for SportsNet LA before and after games the last few seasons, announced his retirement from baseball earlier this week.

A great reason for the Dodgers’ success the last few seasons is Colletti. He drafted or acquired a lot of the players that success was built upon. He wrote a book titled “The Big Chair” that was released in 2017, and I moderated a couple of group events with him in the months that followed. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, he has great stories to tell and his book is highly recommended. We wish him good cheer in retirement.

Here’s a good look at him in this column by Bill Plaschke.

An excerpt from the column:

Three summers ago, when Corey Seager was a prospect playing in the mid-season Futures Game, Colletti phoned him for a chat.

“I want you to know how I see you,’’ Colletti says he told Seager. “You have a chance to not only be a big league player, but great big league player. It’s going to take a lot of work, and it’s not going to come easy, but I see your greatness.’’

When Seager saw Colletti walking through the stadium recently, the kid pulled his former boss aside.

“You remember the phone call you made to me?’’ said Seager.

“I’ll never forget it,’’ said Colletti.

‘Neither will I,’’ said Seager.

Your prediction

Three questions for you to answer if you click here.


How many games will the Dodgers win this season?

Will they win the division?

Will they win the World Series?

Again, to vote in this survey, please click here. Results will be announced Thursday.

Up next

Today: Dodgers (*Andrew Heaney) at Minnesota (Chris Archer), 4:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020
Wednesday: Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw) at Minnesota (Chris Paddack), 10 a.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020


Stories you might have missed

Dodgers’ lineup starts Rocky Mountain cold: Five takeaways from opening series

Dodgers are in big trouble if Julio Urías can’t deliver quality innings

No bad blood? Kenley Jansen, Freddie Freeman discuss budding Dodgers-Braves rivalry

Freddie Freeman shares emotional exchange with former Angel José Iglesias during game

And finally

Highlights from the opening-day win. Watch and listen here.


Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.