While it was only four runs and against one of the not-so-stellar pitching staffs in baseball, the Dodgers‘ slumbering offense may finally be showing some signs of waking up.
Through the first nine games of the season, Los Angeles managed to smack only four home runs; however, the team hit three on Tuesday night, all solo shots by Chris Taylor, Corey Seager and Matt Kemp. The Taylor and Seager bombs were back-to-back blasts in the bottom of the first inning which provided a much-needed early spark.
“Taylor and Seager going back to back was big for us,” skipper Dave Roberts said after the game. “Guys put together better at-bats. It’s starting to come.”
Yet, perhaps an even better sign was that every starter in the lineup had at least one base hit, including pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers began Tuesday ranked last in the National League in average (.213) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.578), and 14th in runs (29) and home runs. The top three batters in the order, Taylor, Seager and Yasiel Puig, combined to hit .205 (23-for-112) with no home runs and five RBI.
As it stands now. just three players—Yasmani Grandal, Kemp and Chase Utley—are batting over .300. Cody Bellinger is hot on their respective trail with a .297 average and leads the club with 11 base hits. Surprisingly, Taylor and Kemp are tied for the team lead in extra-base hits with three apiece—a number which is not impressive in the least, but may be rebounding soon enough.
Currently, the Dodgers are averaging a mere 3.30 runs per game offensively after averaging 4.75 RPG for the entirety of the regular season last year.
The pitching was once again very impressive, as Ryu made a case for his continued inclusion in the club’s starting rotation. The lefty dealt six outstanding innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out eight batters. He threw 90 pitches total, 60 of which were strikes.
Ryu gave way to Tony Cingrani, who threw a perfect seventh inning. Ross Stripling pitched the eighth, but was replaced by closer Kenley Jansen when trouble began to brew with one out in the ninth. Jansen was flawless in recording his second save of the year and lowered his ERA to 7.71. Although his velocity is still down by many standards, the movement on his cut fastball is back, which is a very welcoming sign for the Los Angeles relief crew.
The 4-0 shutout of was the Dodgers’ third of the year. The starting rotation has now surrendered one run or less in six of the first 10 regular season games.
Lefty Alex Wood will take the hill for the Dodgers on Wednesday night and will be opposed by right-hander Daniel Mengden of Oakland. First pitch is slated for 10:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.