The Dodgers returned home from a tough road trip after playing series in New York, Baltimore and Texas. They played well, winning 6 out of 9 and widened their lead in the National League West to 4 games over the Giants and Dbacks at the time. They seemed to be firing on all cylinders, and despite the pitching problems they were winning series. Since they’ve come home they’ve lost 4 out of 6 games to the Blue Jays and Reds, dropping both series. On the last road trip they mostly used a set lineup and put the best players (except Rojas) on the field. Since coming home management has regressed right back into bad habits of platoons, lefty/righty matchups and game scripting. The Dodgers were shutout today by the Reds on Sunday afternoon in a 9-0 drubbing. We’re less than 48 hours from the trade deadline and the Dodgers are back to punting away games.
The Dodgers have already made several trades, and I have liked all of them. I’ve given them all favorable reviews. They reacquired Enrique Hernandez from the Red Sox. They picked up former Dodger Joe Kelly, along with starter Lance Lynn after sending two pitching prospects (Nick Nastrini being one of them) and Trayce Thompson back to the White Sox. The best move seemed to be when the club dumped the dreadful Noah Syndergaard to the Cleveland Guardians for shortstop Amed Rosario and some cash.
I assumed that the Rosario trade meant that he would take over as the everyday shortstop sending Miguel Rojas to the bench where he belongs. But oh no, that would be far too straightforward for the Dodgers. Apparently they’re going to tinker around with a lefty/righty platoon where Rojas plays against right handers and Rosario suits up against left handers. After starting Rosario on Friday night (where he went 2 for 4), they’ve sat him two days in a row and started Rojas on Saturday and Sunday. It’s not surprising that they only scored 2 runs on Saturday and were shutout on Sunday.
Here's where Miguel Rojas ranks among the 215 players with at least 260 plate appearances in 2023:
48 OPS+ (Worst)
.267 SLG (Worst)
.544 OPS (Worst)
.247 wOBA (2nd worst)
You can swap him in late for defensive purposes, but he can't be an every day guy anymore
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHHarris) July 30, 2023
I understand that Rojas is a good defensive player and Rosario is not. But Rojas is a worthless hitter and one of the worst hitters in baseball let along the worst hitting shortstop in the sport. Moving forward Rojas should never start another game for the Dodgers for the rest of the season. There is no reason barring multiple injuries to have him in the starting lineup again. NONE. If you’re going to worry about infield defense and run prevention then maybe start by putting a half decent pitching staff together. You can’t defend against balls that are flying out of the park. Now there are injuries to Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Will Smith. That means Rojas is going to be in the lineup every day, and Austin Barnes probably finds himself there too if the injury to Smith keeps him out. If that happens the Dodgers are going to lose a lot of games.
Speaking of the pitching staff, it’s been horrible this month. Michael Grove got knocked around again by the Reds in his latest start in Sunday’s loss. He allowed 3 runs in the first inning within the blink of an eye. How long can the Dodgers keep going with him? He gave up eight earned runs on ten hits over six innings. He’s got a 6.75 ERA. To add even more insult to our eyes, the Dodgers had Rojas himself pitch the top of the ninth inning. Not cute.
It’s time to stop the lineup tinkering. We can tolerate this in April and May but in July, August it’s not acceptable. It’s time to stop the game scripting. It’s time to stop the lefty/righty matchups that never work. It’s time to stop putting automatic outs in the lineup. And it’s time to focus the last couple of days before the trade deadline on acquiring reliable starting pitching. We’re in the middle of a playoff race and it’s time for the Dodgers to start acting (and playing) like a playoff team.