LOS ANGELES — Once unable to win a series no matter what they did http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-zach-allen-jersey , the Los Angeles Dodgers are a game away from taking seven of their last eight series.
And regardless of what happens Wednesday, in the second game of a brief two-game interleague matchup against the Texas Rangers, the Dodgers will make it eight consecutive unbeaten series after taking a 12-5 decision Tuesday. The Dodgers were 6-0-1 in their last seven series before the Rangers came to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers were unable to win any of their first five series of the season. Then after winning back-to-back series in late April, they were unable to take any of their next seven, tying two of those.
The Dodgers were 17-26 on May 17 and their inspired play while reaching the 2017 World Series was a distant memory.
Tuesday’s runaway triumph gave the Dodgers 18 victories in their last 24 games and has brought that 2017 feel back to Dodger Stadium.
The Rangers happen to be in a polar opposite run than the one the Dodgers are on. In getting blasted Tuesday in L.A., the Rangers have lost five consecutive games, six of their last eight and eight of their last 11.
And while the Dodgers’ turnaround began May 19, the Rangers are now 11-18 since May 12.
If there is any solace for the Rangers it is that Cole Hamels will take the mound Wednesday. The left-hander leads all Rangers starters in ERA (3.86), starts (13), innings (79 1/3) and strikeouts (79).
Hamels is just 3-6 but is coming off a start where he reached the eighth inning for the second time this season. Also promising is his 1.89 career ERA against the Dodgers in eight starts and 57 innings. He is 3-2 lifetime against L.A.
The Dodgers are starting to feel good about their starting pitching situation with Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.61) returning to the rotation Wednesday after missing two weeks with a hip strain. He will face the Rangers for the first time in his career.
Yes, the Dodgers do still have Clayton Kershaw Gary Jennings Jr. Jersey , Rich Hill, Dennis Santana, Hyun-Jin Ryu and now Walker Buehler on the DL, but Maeda’s return figures to signal a reversal of fortune.
Kershaw (back strain) could appear in a simulated game soon, while Ryu (groin) remains on schedule to return in July. Hill (blister) also is making progress, but no timetable for his return has been given.
“It’s one of those things,” manager Dave Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “If you’re a pitcher on this staff … heads up.”
The Rangers would not mind a little despair mixed in with some success, like the Dodgers are showing. But right now, they’ll take a two-game split with the Dodgers.
Tuesday’s defeat means the Rangers are now 5-17 in series openers and 1-8 in their last nine openers. Texas is also a season-high 15 games under .500 at 27-42. The Rangers are also 7-14 in their last 21 road games.
When Bill Lazor looks at the Bengals’ playbook, he sees the imprint of three coordinators. He’s getting a chance to try to pull it all together and resurrect the NFL’s least-productive offense – a shocking statistic for a talented unit.
Coach Marvin Lewis’ first big decision after getting another contract extension was offering Lazor the chance to stay as coordinator and give the offense a major overhaul. The Bengals finished last in the league in offense and had the worst running game in their history, averaging only 85 yards.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be back Phil Haynes Jersey , along with running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. The playbook could be noticeably different – Lazor said some things need to be done ”totally differently.”
”There are times when each of us, in order to grow, need to be pushed and need to be made uncomfortable,” Lazor said. ”Andy wants to be great, so he’ll accept that challenge if we make him uncomfortable at times.”
Dalton has worked with four offensive coordinators during his seven seasons in Cincinnati.
Jay Gruden helped Dalton and Green get grounded as rookies in 2011, the start of five straight postseason appearances and first-round losses. When Gruden left after the 2013 season, Hue Jackson replaced him, brought a different creativity to the game plan, and led Dalton to his best season – he led the AFC in passer rating in 2015.
Ken Zampese was elevated when Jackson went to the Browns after the 2015 season, and he took the West Coast offense in some different directions. It didn’t work – he was fired after the Bengals failed to score a touchdown in their first two games into this season. Lazor took over but was confined to working from Zampese’s playbook for the rest of the season and tweaking things gradually.
Now Lazor gets to analyze the offense, overhaul it, and put his imprint on it.
”If I look at the call sheet of what the plays are called here Ugo Amadi Jersey , I’d probably see things that were brought from three different coordinators,” he said.
His biggest challenge will be restoring a comfort level on the offense. The Bengals would play well for a few series or a half, then totally collapse and go long stretches without as much as a first down.
”We just have to be consistent,” Dalton said. ”Everybody’s got to be on the same page. That’s what the offseason will be for, to look at everything.”
Much of the focus will be on the line, which lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler in free agency a year ago. They were replaced with inexperienced tackles who struggled – the running backs found few holes and Dalton was running to avoid the rush much of the time. Line coach Paul Alexander was let go on Wednesday.
Getting the line fixed is the top priority. Until the running backs get more room and Dalton gets more time, the offense will remain stuck in place.
”We have an amazing group of threats at wide receiver, and we have to capitalize on that,” Lewis said. ”We have to get our quarterback to be the guy we expect him to be day-in and day-out, and lead the football team that way. That means we have to keep him from getting jostled around.”