The Timely Turnaround of Chris Taylor

(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

It could be something small, or it could be the start of a successful string that will be long-lasting. Either way, Chris Taylor has finally found a groove, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Dating back to May 1, Taylor was hitting just .162 in perhaps the worst part of his slump. At the time, he had 12 hits in 84 plate appearances, and many fans wondered why he was garnering so much playing time. Even though skipper Dave Roberts said that he would stick by Taylor amidst his struggles, some wondered if a demotion to the minor leagues was in the utility man’s immediate future.

However, things began to change when the Dodgers arrived in San Diego on May 3. Since the opening game of that series, Taylor has gone 9-for-17 with two doubles, two long balls and six RBI. Now, as the current homestand progresses, many fans will be left wondering if he’s NOT included in the lineup on a daily basis.

Before Tuesday’s middle game against the Braves, Taylor was slashing .231/.297/.385 over 91 AB. Those are not stellar numbers by any means, but they’re certainly better than the .162 average he carried at the beginning of the month.

On Monday night, he went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the team’s 5-3 victory. He drove in Justin Turner with a single in the third inning to put the Dodgers up by three. His double to right field in the fifth frame plated Corey Seager, stretching the lead to five runs.

“He’s just getting opportunities to go out there and play,” Roberts said of Taylor before the start of the series against the Braves. “I think he’s taking better swings. When he does get a ball in the strike zone, he’s getting it going forward and not fouling it off or swinging through it.”

Taylor was spending extra time with his mentor and new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc to help remedy his slump before his recent success. A few adjustments in his mechanics were made, but CT3 said that he actually felt that he has been pretty close to the swing that landed him success over the past two seasons.

“It hasn’t really shown much, but I’ve actually felt pretty good the last week or two,” Taylor told Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times on Monday. “And, I’m just trying to go up there and I’ve been working on things in the cage and I felt like I’ve been really close.”

Even during his downturn, Taylor was still among the team leaders hitting with runners in scoring position. For the year, he’s now hitting .421/.455/.526 over 22 plate appearances with RISP.

Regardless of his recent success, Taylor may still find himself in a platoon role, even though the team is still down an outfielder. While A.J. Pollock‘s timetable for a return is still uncertain, Taylor could remain on the pine against righty pitching, unless he’s needed to cover a spot in the infield.

Overall, Taylor is slashing .289/.319/.556 in 45 AB against southpaws, but he’s hitting just .174/.278/.217 against right-handers. Six of his eight extra-base hits—including all three long balls—have come against lefties.

Still, Taylor’s recent 9-for-17 string has been a huge bonus, especially during the recent, brief absence of Cody Bellinger.

If Taylor continues his current rate of production, it certainly strengthens an already powerful Los Angeles lineup, even if he appears mainly against left-handed pitching.


32 thoughts on “The Timely Turnaround of Chris Taylor

  1. Check his career splits. He’s one of those guys who gets hot, cools off, gets hot again. Career April/March – .669 OPS. Career May – .810 OPS. Career June – .765 OPS. July – .830. Sept/Oct – .711. This year won’t be any different. He will finish somewhere around .760 with a van full of strikeouts.

  2. Good thing Chris is beginning to rake because Cody is in a mini slump, Joc has cooled off because of all the lefty’s they have been facing. But he will get some time against the Braves. Rays traded Wilmer Font to the Mets. Buehler was impressive until the 6th and 7th. They hit some shots, but the defense bailed him out. Speaking of defense, I do not know how Roberts is going to justify playing d’Arnaud over Freese at any time. Just does not make sense at all, nor does playing him in the outfield.

    1. Agree with that take Bear. d’Arnaud is puzzling to me.

      Buehler was impressive until he wasn’t. 5 good innings. I guess with a 5 zip lead Roberts figured… why not? Well, 2 home runs and 100 pitches is why not.

      Most of our guys are streak hitters. Even Turner has his cool weeks. In the end most of these guys will have good numbers. I’m more concerned about pitching than I am the offense.

  3. His signing is just a head scratcher unless Martin’s back is more serious than advertised. Can’t imagine him getting ab’s over anyone. He’s like O for ever this year!

    1. What is more head scratching is Roberts saying they plan to play him at 1st base and the outfield. The guy has played exactly 9 innings in his career at a position other than Catcher. Now, if they said that he and Martin were going to share the catching duties and Barnes was going to be a utility guy it would make more sense. Barnes has played the infield and some outfield as a Dodger. He also gives them the flexibility if in that role to use Kike in the outfield…he is a far better option than d’Arnaud. Also, what does that mean for Freese’s playing time>? I agree with Scoop. The bigger concern is the pitching.

      1. If the prerequisite for where d’Arnaud will be used is that he has never played there in his MLB career, he may also be our pitching solution.

  4. Pat Venditte DFA’ d by the Giants. So was Yangervis Solarte. They called up former Dodger farm hand Donovan Solano. Ohtani activated by the Angels and Bourjos DFA’ d.

    1. Solano has done some nice hitting in AAA over the past three years. If SF gives him some playing time, he could turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
      Baseball is definitely better for having Ohtani back. He’s a pleasure to watch and I’m really sorry he didn’t decide to come here.

      1. I was surprised that he did not get at least a look see last year, but that is the way they do business. No sooner does he get called up and they designate Solarte and Valera.

  5. We really should just give Turner the month of April off, and just have him show up the first of May

    1. What if he only pitches 82 innings like he did last year? He’s 32 with a history of injuries. I think I’d wait a few weeks.

      1 complete game and it leads the League. What world am I living in?

      93 pitches to complete 9 innings. Have to admit I did not expect to see that from ANY of our starters. I sure don’t expect to see it again.

      I have to choose between Direct, Cox, or Spectrum. Any suggestions? I did comparisons. Direct wins, but I don’t like the 2 year contract and cost increases in year two. I thought they would do away with that as it pisses everybody off. I’m leaning towards Spectrum.

      1. Can you get the Dodger games on Direct and/or Cox? I have Spectrum and I run into the usual hassles that everyone does with their provider but it’s bearable.

      2. Where are you living Scoop? Where I live I have to use Spectrum since no other provider is hooked up to my building, but if I want Dodger games I have to pay to get the MLB.TV package. Costs about 120 a year.

      3. Bear, I assume you’re referring to your place in Colorado. As far as I know, if you live in the greater L.A. area (and I assume that’s what Scoop will be doing), it’s Spectrum or nothing. Furthermore, buying the MLB package won’t do it either as I think it’s blacked out here in L.A. for Dodger games. If I’m wrong about any of this, someone feel free to correct me.

      4. I’ll be in Lake Forest Bear. Not there yet. A week from Friday we’ll be there.

        My understanding is nobody carries the Dodgers but Spectrum. There apparently is no logical reason why that is so but it doesn’t look like anyone is doing much about it. We have Suddenlink here in Sedona and they suck the skunk begonia. Anything has to be better than that company. I hope.

  6. Ryu is the staff Ace right now. Buehler has a lot to learn before he reaches that status. Ryu was efficient and attacked hitters instead of trying to nibble at the corners like Maeda does most of the time. Knew it was only a matter of time before Justin reloaded and broke out. He has been hitting the ball a lot better. Kike has cooled off considerable from his hot start. Belli has been swinging at pitches he laid off of during his hot start. But I am sure he will spot that and adjust. Carerra and Smoker got released from AAA. Both were abysmal. Valera DFA’ d by the Giants.

    1. Kike has definitely cooled off but he hit the ball hard last night and, with any luck, could have had three hits including a homer. He is definitely not looking bad at the plate so I have no problem with keeping him in the lineup.

      1. I feel the same. Joc is the one who seems the most affected when he has to be out of the lineup a few days. Verdugo has proved he can hit lefty’s so far so I have no problem with him being in the lineup so far. Joc will get a start tonight and is sure to see action when the Nats are here.

      2. As I mentioned, most of this all or nothing squad is composed of streak hitters. Kiké is one of them. He could be 0 for two weeks then collect 12 total bases in one game. I’m not worried about this team scoring runs. At the end of the year we will be at the top of the league in scoring.

  7. You are right there Jeff. Here at my sis’s place, she has Spectrum and they are the only ones who carry the games since they have not been able to reach an agreement with any of the other services. That has been going on since when Time-Warner had the contract. Spectrum bought them out. Where I live, I have to stream the games or I do not get them at all and even at that, when the play the Rockies, I am blacked out even though I live more than 100 miles from Denver.

  8. Bullpen may get a boost soon. Cingrani threw a scoreless inning last night. Ferguson is just a few days from being ready. I think Fergy is going to end up back at OKC starting since they are not playing very well down there at all. 11 games under .500 and that pitching staff is getting hammered.

    1. I agree on Fergie. Should definitely go to OKC and work on developing another pitch/becoming a starter.
      Although Cingrani threw a scoreless inning, he allowed three base runners. Probably could use another rehab outing or two. By then, they can figure out who is going to be “injured” or sent down.

      1. I read that. But Cingrani when right has some nasty stuff and a relievers mentality.

      2. No argument there Bear. He’s been a real asset when healthy. His problem has been staying healthy. Give him whatever rehab time he needs and then bring him back.

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