The Dodgers are mired in a weeklong hitting slump and it’s threatening to crater their early season success. The Dodgers are now incapable of scoring more than two runs in a game. They have done so only once since last Friday night’s extra-inning win in San Diego. Over the last week they’ve scored just 11 runs and totaled just 23 hits. That’s their lowest hit tally over a nine-game span since 1909. Their hitting woes continued on Friday night with a pathetic and listless 6-1 loss to the Padres at Dodger Stadium. There are multiple problems occurring simultaneously.
The beleaguered Dodger’s lineup is beset with injuries. Cody Bellinger is still sidelined with a hairline fracture in his leg, and we don’t know when he’s coming back. Gavin Lux is still out with a wrist injury, although he is due to return soon. Zach Mckinstry who has had an excellent start to the season was just placed on the injured list with an oblique injury and Chris Taylor is out with lower back stiffness.
Another big problem is the Dodger’s bench is horrible. Their pinch-hitters are now 0 for 19 this season. This is a problem I pointed out before the season began in this article here. The club let Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson walk in free agency but didn’t replace them with anyone good. As a result, the Dodgers have been forced to use guys like Luke Raley and Sheldon Neuse in the starting lineup. Those guys are nice stories but neither of them could hit water if they fell out of a boat. Raley has turned in an admirable performance but both are career minor league journeyman. The Dodgers did call up prospect DJ Peters to replace Mckinstry’s roster spot. Hopefully he can help.
Adding to the misery, nearly all of the regulars are slumping at the same time. Will Smith and Austin Barnes have been horrendous. AJ Pollock has not hit at all and Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Mookie Betts have stopped hitting all at once. But getting back to the bench problems, it’s something the Dodger’s management needs to fix soon.
The bench is especially important to a National league team. There is no DH this year so having guys that can come off the bench and get hits in the late innings is important. Since starting pitchers rarely go more than six innings these days, the pitcher’s spot comes up in the late innings anywhere from 2-3 times per game. There are usually runners on base during those scoring opportunities. If all you can send up are Mendoza line hitting utility journeyman, then you won’t score much.
I don’t like writing these types of articles. I know I’m sure to get some push back for this. I know it’s very early in the season. I’m not writing this to be negative. I’m writing this to point out problems that need to be fixed. This is my job as a writer. I’m sure management is aware of the problems. They need to fix these issues now before they drag on into the later months of the season.