Dodgers weather the Storm and win a series against the Nationals
The clouds finally dispersed. The rain finally stopped. For the first time this month, the Dodgers finally won a Series, edging the Washington Nationals 7-3 on Sunday in another rain-delayed contest at Nationals Park.
Now, the team can only hope that the outlook for the rest of the season will clear up.
While the Dodgers have managed to post a 3-3 record during this week’s trip, coming back from a series loss to the Miami Marlins by salvaging a rubber match on Sunday that narrowed their magic number to clinch the National League West to seven, they will return home on Monday in a much different place. About what they left.
Since their last homestand, the Dodgers have been weathering storms on and off the field.
Opening Day player Julio Urias is on administrative leave, after being arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence last week.
The team knows it won’t see Walker Buehler return before the end of the season, announcing Friday that he won’t recover from Tommy John surgery in time for a postseason push.
And the club faces countless other question marks as it approaches another run in the postseason — none bigger than Clayton Kershaw’s recent struggles.
That last topic resurfaced after Sunday’s game, when head coach Dave Roberts announced that Kershaw’s next start had been postponed from Monday to Friday.
While Roberts said earlier this week that Kershaw was dealing with the lingering effects of a shoulder injury suffered earlier this year — most notably, a recent sudden drop in fastball velocity — the manager insisted Sunday that the decision to postpone his start was not right. related to the health of the left hand.
Instead, Roberts claimed the Dodgers were trying to “get things on the right path” with their rotation schedule, while also acknowledging that the extra rest — Kershaw will now have nine days off between starts — couldn’t hurt.
“If we weigh everything, it makes more sense,” Roberts said. “There’s no downside to what we do. That’s kind of the mindset.”
If all that wasn’t enough to indicate the team’s bleak state, the rainy weather in Washington — which delayed all three games of the series — served as a symbolic reminder.
“There are a lot of things up in the air that we didn’t expect,” Roberts said emphatically this weekend when asked about the club’s recent turn in unexpected events. “I think it’s just trying to manage each one of them individually.”
On Sunday, that meant putting together a pitching plan in a contest that was delayed by nearly an hour because of rain midway through the fifth inning.
Left-handed swingman Ryan Yarbrough got the start just days after the birth of his second child, pitching four solid innings while giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five.
Yarbrough’s daughter was born Friday afternoon, with the pitcher remaining in his native Florida after the Marlins’ series before returning to the team Saturday night. Yarbrough returned to Florida after the game on Sunday to spend a few more days with his family. He will return to the team next weekend in Seattle.
“(It was) pretty crazy,” Yarbrough said of the promotion just 48 hours after giving birth to his daughter. “It was really great to be in Miami, and to be here so close to being home. It was a time. Really exciting.”
While the Dodgers’ offense was able to provide seven innings of support in Yarbrough’s start — with two RBIs from Jason Heyward and four hits from Miguel Rojas — they had to do so after suffering another injury. David Peralta suffered a blow to his left elbow during the second half.
Roberts said Peralta had an X-ray after the game that was negative, and that they will re-evaluate how he feels when they get home.
“When I saw it firsthand, I saw seams on the elbow, immediate swelling,” Roberts said. “Then, as I heard, the tumor was gone. We’ll see if he’ll be there tomorrow, but he said he feels very good.
There is one thing Roberts and his players have echoed this week: the need to block out all the distractions that have quickly befallen their campaign, and rediscover their best form between now and October.
“Trying to block out all the distractions from outside the club and trying to keep everything in our favour, it’s a tough test,” Rojas said. “But we are looking forward to the challenge.”
“I feel good, considering where we’ve been, starting the road trip with all the circumstances we’ve had to deal with,” Roberts added. “I felt like we did a great job of being professional, focused on winning baseball games, playing good, clean baseball, which is what I think we did it for the most part.