Hey remember when the Dodgers were on pace to break the all-time MLB record with 116 wins? Funny thing happened on the way to the record books. Ok so the Dodgers are still on pace to win well over 100 games. They have a 92-41 record at the moment with a .692 winning percentage with just 29 games remaining. The Dodgers are a cinch to win 100 and probably break the all-time franchise record for wins which is 105 (set by the 1953 Brooklyn club). The Dodgers would need to finish 24-5 the rest of the way to tie the all-time MLB mark. That seems a little out of reach, but you know anything is possible with this Dodger team.
The Dodgers have hit a little bit of a road block in August. The offense has suddenly disappeared. Remember that incredible hitting club that could overcome any deficit? The club that has ten walk-off wins this season and I can’t remember how many come from behind victories? Well they’ve run into a bit of an issue.
The Dodger bats have been anemic since August 1. The club batted just .234/.325/.408 with 36 home runs in August. They posted a .733 OPS and scored just 121 runs. To give you an example of just how bad the Dodger offense was in August, look no further than how many hits they accrued during the month. The Dodgers collected a meager 211 hits which ranked them 29 out of the 30 MLB clubs. Only the lowly Padres, who the boys in blue are currently playing, have collected fewer hits that month.
A combination of injuries, poor performances, and unnecessary lineup shuffling played a part in the nonexistent offense. The Dodgers lost top home run hitter Cody Bellinger in Detroit when he rolled his ankle playing the outfield. The Dodgers put him there once Adrian Gonzalez returned from the disabled list. The Dodgers are now without Corey Seager who is battling a sore elbow.
It wasn’t just the injuries. Other hitters are in slumps and others are just automatic outs. Justin Turner has been slumping for weeks. Turner is having a fantastic season as he always is, but he hasn’t hit much over the last several weeks. Since August 1, Turner is batting .245 and his OBP is just .313.
The Automatic outs
Gonzalez was just 9 for 47 in the month of August, that’s just a .191 average with a .220 OBP in 50 plate appearances. He’s been really bad since coming back from the disabled list. At least he has an excuse. These other guys have little excuse.
Enrique Hernandez has been an atrocious hitter for the last two seasons now. He batted just .191 in 2016 and has barely eclipsed that pace in 2017, his 11 home runs notwithstanding. Sure his 33 extra-base hits are nice, but he’s posted just a 92 OPS+. He’s been well below average overall and hasn’t hit much in months. August was his worst month yet. He batted just .152 (7 for 46) with just a .235 OBP in 51 plate appearances. He batted .190 in July, and .188 in June. He’s bad and the Dodgers continually start him almost on a daily basis. Not playing Hernandez would be a huge boost to the offense in general. Keep him on the bench please.
Logan Forsythe has also been awful in August. He’s batting just .231 with an 84 OPS + in 359 plate appearances. He’s belted just 4 home runs this year. That’s what’s been the most shocking about his punch-less bat, the lack of power. Forsythe has done one thing well; he gets on base at a decent clip. His .365 OBP and 61 walks are at least something productive. Forsythe batted just .212 (14 for 66) with a .709 OPS in 87 August plate appearances.
The Dodgers scored just one run in Friday night’s 1-0 win over the Padres. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw’s six scoreless frames they were able to snap a five game losing streak. The Dodgers need to get back to the lineup that was working for them throughout most of the season. That formula for success was Taylor-Seager-Turner-Bellinger in the top four spots, Grandal or Barnes batting behind Bellinger and Yasiel Puig in the eighth spot.
The Dodgers still have a huge 16 game lead in the National League West with 29 games left to play. Their magic number is 13 to clinch the division title. It’s not surprising that the Dodgers have stopped scoring runs. With Adrian Gonzalez, the auto outs, injuries, slumps and lineup shuffling has turned a top notch-offense into a struggling mess.
Perhaps recent call ups like Alex Verdugo and O’Koyea Dickson will help. It’s hard to win games when you don’t score runs and the Dodgers need to start scoring runs again.