With the season's longest road trip behind them, one that became more grueling even as it got closer to home, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to hit the reset button Tuesday.
With a short two-game interleague series against the Seattle Mariners, the Dodgers are coming full circle to the start of their issues, when a series between these two teams in the Pacific Northwest last month offered a glimpse of what was to come.
The Dodgers have failed to win any of their last six series, a run that started with an April 19-20 two-game series split at Seattle. Los Angeles entered the short tussle with a 13-3 record, lost the opener 4-3 and won the finale 1-0 thanks to the pitching of Julio Urias. They are 4-13 since.
The Dodgers' series at Seattle completed a four-game run when they scored just eight runs in 36 innings. Offensive inconsistencies have followed ever since.
"There's no complacency," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Guys are grinding. That's who we are. But at the end of the day, it's a performance game. We're better than this, and we expect to win baseball games considerably more than we lose."
The Dodgers have now lost five consecutive series for the first time since late in the 2017 season. They went 2-8 on a 10-game slog through Milwaukee, Chicago and Anaheim.
An anemic offense is not the only issue. The bullpen is shaky and injuries have taken a toll. Cody Bellinger (leg fracture) still is out and the bullpen is in flux without Tony Gonsolin (shoulder), Corey Knebel (lat), Brusdar Graterol (forearm) and David Price (hamstring).
The Dodgers' offense led baseball in home runs last season, crushing 118 in 60 games (1.97 per game). They are tied for 15th in baseball this season with 40 homers in 35 games (1.1 per game).
The Dodgers will send right-hander Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.13 ERA) to the mound Tuesday to be opposed by Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (1-2, 4.30). Buehler has faced the Mariners once, in 2018, giving up one run over six innings to earn the victory. Kikuchi has faced the Dodgers once, giving up five runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss last season.
The Mariners are dealing with their own inconsistency issues, entering off consecutive defeats at Texas, while losing each of their last two series. Since that home series split against the Dodgers, Seattle is just 7-10.
The Mariners have injury issues of their own with pitchers Marco Gonzales (forearm), Nick Margevicius (shoulder) and Ljay Newsome (elbow) all on the injured list. James Paxton (forearm) already was lost for the season.
The Mariners bullpen has been busy with 129 1/3 innings heading into play Monday, 10th among all MLB teams. Former Dodgers right-hander JT Chargois had his contract purchased by the Mariners and made his Seattle debut Sunday with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
"I think we're doing great," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of his bullpen. "We're one of the best teams in the league as far as giving our guys rest. We haven't thrown guys on back-to-back days too often. That is going to pick up. It's part of what you have to do in the big leagues."
--Field Level Media