Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Flick of the Wrist


Boy, it's a bad time to be the wrist of a future hall of fame hitter.

In the last few days, two of the biggest players in the game, and two MVP candidates, just got handed very worrying injuries of almost the exact same type. Mookie Betts was the first, needing to miss 2 months with a hand injury. And then tonight, Aaron Judge gets hit on the hand with a pitch, exits, and as I write this it's not certain whether or not he'll need to miss time. Considering what amazing seasons both of these guys were having, this is the worst case scenario, honestly; losing Betts severely wounds the Dodgers, and the prospect of losing Judge puts the incredible Yankee start into jeopardy.

The Dodgers may honestly have more to lose. They already began the season extremely injury-bitten, and are still without Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Emmett Sheehan. Now they are without Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Michael Grove and Bobby Miller, in addition to Max Muncy, who recently got hurt. So already, they're on fumes as far as the pitching is concerned, and are hoping that James Paxton, Gavin Stone and Tyler Glasnow are a strong enough core for the present moment. They got Walker Buehler back, and he's been decent, if flawed. They're getting Miller back this week, he should hopefully be in better condition than earlier in the year. There's no real news on when the big three will be back, so hopefully the unit works enough in that interim.

But with one less superstar in the lineup, the flaws are going to become more evident. Miguel Vargas has been thrust back into short, and it's going about as well as it did last year. Gavin Lux, even after all the wait to get him starting again, hasn't been worth it, and neither has Chris Taylor. Andy Pages is talented but still isn't hitting that well. Heyward and Rojas are good, but they've both done better. 

One of the takeaways of this team, besides the obvious ones, is that when you need him to, Teoscar Hernandez will absolutely annihilate a baseball. He did it a bunch of times during the Yankees series, and right now he's got 17 homers and 51 RBIs. As good as he was with Seattle last year, this is a steadier, more potent Hernandez, and he's been the spoiler on a number of occasions. The Dodgers had enough strong people in well defined roles, and now they have a nice power bat to make sure it's not all on Ohtani.

This Dodgers team still has enough to get by on, and they'll likely stay ahead for a bit. But I don't know if they'll be as potent without Betts, and I'm guessing it'll be a long series of weeks while they wait for him to come back.

Coming Tomorrow- Not the starter that may have hurt Judge's wrist, but AN Orioles starter.

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