On Sunday, drama began to hit the struggling Dodgers when manager Dave Roberts pulled Cody Bellinger from the fifth inning of their loss to the Giants for not hustling. Bellinger said Roberts’ decision “didn’t make sense” to him. And the loss put them seven games behind the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.
A day later, things got much, much worse. The Dodgers announced that star shortstop Corey Seager needs Tommy John Surgery and is done for the season. Seager has been worth about 6.5 WAR (according to FanGraphs) on average over the the last two seasons, so this is a brutal blow.
And on Monday night, the Dodgers began what should now be viewed as a crucial four-game series against the Diamondbacks. Well, they’re now eight games back after Arizona came away with an 8-5 victory, led by three home runs from A.J. Pollock:
Count ’em. 3⃣ home runs for A.J. Pollock. 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/7rTAr7zZgM
— MLB (@MLB) May 1, 2018
Pollock is off to a ridiculous, MVP-level start to the season, in his contract year. The center fielder leads all NL position players in fWAR at 1.7, and is tied for the NL lead in home runs with nine. He’s been the best player on a Diamondbacks team that has the best record in the NL at 20-8.
Even if the Dodgers turn things around, it’s going to be really hard to catch this Diamondbacks team. It seems crazy to say this early in the season, but the Dodgers probably need to win at least two of these next three games in Arizona to have a realistic chance at winning the NL West. Falling nine+ games behind Arizona — without Corey Seager — would be a very difficult gap to make up.