Dan's Dugout: Once Hot Dodgers Turn Ice Cold • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Once Hot Dodgers Turn Ice Cold

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Over a regular-season schedule that lasts six months and spans 162 games, every team and every player is subject to streaks.

Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog knew all about streaks

Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog knew all about streaks

As Whitey Herzog once said, every team will win 60 and lose 60. It’s what happens in the other 42 games that separates winners from losers.

This month alone, the Cleveland Indians have won 17 games in a row, the Arizona Diamondbacks have taken 13 straight, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have come down to earth with a thud – dropping 10 straight through Sunday.

In fact, the Dodgers have become the first team in baseball history to win 15 of 16 and lose 15 of 16 in the same season.

Coasting all summer at the top of the National League West, the Dodgers are playing like Popeye after the spinach ran out.

After losing an 8-1 verdict to the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles looked over its shoulder at the Washington Nationals, who clinched the NL East title the same day and have designs on posting the best record in the Senior Circuit.

Thanks to the Dodgers’ debacle, the Nats have whittled the margin – and the chance to win home-field advantage throughout the playoffs – to a mere four games.

“Our clubhouse is just frustrated,” said Dave Roberts, the National Legaue’s Manager of the Year last season. “We can’t figure out how to win a game.”

Dave Roberts has a lot of explaining to do

Dave Roberts has a lot of explaining to do

Putting Clayton Kershaw on the mound Tuesday should help. But the Cy Young Award contender will be facing the arch-rival Giants in San Francisco, where the fans like to make Dodger blue bleed bright red.

Swept twice by the Rockies during their current losing streak, the Dodgers have lost nine straight games at home for the first time since 1987. They averted a shutout Sunday only when heralded rookie Alex Verdugo hit his first home run, a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth at Dodger Stadium.

Since losing is contagious – for both teams and players – the Dodgers need only to read the Los Angeles Times to know that this is their longest losing streak in 25 years.

And just think: it was only weeks ago when the team celebrated the achievement of being 50 games over .500. Baseball experts were predicting a historic finish, perhaps besting the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36) 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46) for the most wins in a single season.

Should the streak continue, the Dodgers could do the unthinkable and blow the division title. It’s highly unlikely, with just three weeks to go, but Arizona is just nine back and itching to start another streak. It lost two straight after winning 13 in a row but returned to the victory column Sunday.

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has been a big factor in Cleveland's streak

All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has been a big factor in Cleveland’s streak

In the meantime, the Cleveland Indians just go about their merry way. They went into their Sunday night game against the Baltimore Orioles with a 17-game winning streak. And that was after a 14-game streak last year, when they came within a whisker of winning the World Series.

If nothing else, the 2017 season will be remembered for its Streaky September. And the ultimate irony will be whether these streaks matter once the playoffs begin.

The Nationals have never won a postseason series, the Dodgers have not reached the World Series since they won it in 1988, and the Indians have not won the World Series since 1948 – the longest non-championship drought of any of the original 16 teams. The Diamondbacks were world champions in 2001, the only time they appeared in the Fall Classic.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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