The Dodgers are sinking like a stone and the pond is getting deeper by the day. After Friday night’s 8-7 loss to the Dbacks the boys in blue are now 4-8 to start the season. Their worst start to a season since the 1994 marathon. They’re 5.5 games back as we speak and have lost ten consecutive games against the Dbacks dating back to last season. It doesn’t look like they’ll ever win another game against Arizona, although for the record, (checks record) they probably will. Look, I know it’s really early but the Dodgers have been awful. Not only are they already mired in fourth place (barely ahead of the lowly Padres) but they’ve yet to win a single series this year. Is this just a slow start? Or is this how they’re going to play all year?
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The Dodgers scored seven runs in Friday’s loss to Arizona and Kenta Maeda just didn’t have it, but the primary problem has been the pathetic offense. As of right now the Dodgers are 21st in batting with runners in scoring position. They have a .546 OPS in such situations and have not hit one home run with runners in scoring position. Not only that, but their trademark plate discipline has completely disappeared. They rank 27th out of the 30 clubs in OBP, and 27th in walks. That’s just not going to cut it, obviously.
So is there any kind of solution? There are a couple of things they can possibly do to at least help their plight. One such thing is to stop batting terrible hitters in the middle or top of the order. Look at it this way, guys like Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager are going to hit. They are already starting to come out of their respective slumps as I write this. Seager is not going to hit .205 all year. Neither is Bellinger. Those guys are going to be fine. But what about the rest of the guys?
It stands to reason that batting anybody third that is hitting less than .200 is not going to help. I’m just as surprised as you that Yasiel Puig is hitting below the Mendoza line, but he is. It’s not changing anytime soon. We can quote exit velocities and come up with the excuse that he’s just hitting into bad luck, but the fact remains that he hasn’t hit a lick so far. I’m assuming like many of you that that will change as well. Until then he needs to bat low in the order. The Dodgers finally wised up on Friday and dropped him down to sixth in the lineup, and it shouldn’t have taken this long to figure that out.
There are other things that can be done to increase the offense. Two guys are really stinking up the order and those two players are Enrique Hernandez and Logan Forsythe. Again I know it’s early, but they’re just not hitting. So why not sit them a few days and let somebody play that is hitting? I like Enrique I really do, but he hit .215 last year and .191 the year before. Despite the historic three home-run game in the NLCS he hasn’t hit in nearly two years. I’m fine with him playing but please for the love of all that’s holy stop batting him cleanup against left handers. Logan is a steady defensive player but outside of two productive years in Tampa Bay was a sub .250 hitting utility player in San Diego. I get that the options are thin right now, but why not let Utley start some games considering he’s out-hit both of them in almost half the at-bats.
Which brings me to my next point, the thin depth. If the options are this thin, then doesn’t that point to a lack of depth? If there is nobody that can come up from the minors other than Andrew Toles to help the bats then the so-called depth the Dodgers have is smoke and mirrors.
Another somewhat common sense suggestion is not to have a regular member of your starting rotation go ten days without pitching. I don’t care how many off-days are built into the schedule, it doesn’t make sense to let Kenta Maeda go ten or more days in between starts.
Hey I know I’m just a writer and arm-chair manager, but these are just common sense approaches. Don’t bat automatic outs in the middle or top of your order. Don’t let your number four starter not pitch for over 10 days. Start playing the hot hands over the stale hitters that can’t seem to get anything going. If the Dodgers can’t at least vary from their stagnant script and try to change their approaches even just a little bit then they’ll probably continue to lose.