Dodgers Need to Find Ways to Spark Offense, If Season Continues

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In a normal season, if the Dodgers had gotten off to a 2-2 start, fans would grumble and make excuses while probably being a little concerned—overall it wouldn’t be that big a deal. After all, even though the Dodgers were playing the San Francisco Giants, who are most definitely in a rebuilding year, it’s still the Giants, and crazy things happen in games against them.

This season being the different beast that it is, that same 2-2 start is a little more concerning for two reasons. One, there is less time to make up ground in the standings if a team has a slow start. Second, and more concerning, is just how flat the Dodgers’ offense looked in the second two games, and how bad the pitching looked.

The good news with the standings is that the Dodgers reside in the NL West, and should have no problem rising to the top by the time this shortened season is over. And, so far this season, the have the second-highest run differential of all 30 Major League Teams, with +12.

In other good news, both Dustin May and Ross Stripling, who originally were not slated to be in the Dodgers starting rotation, had very good first outings. I did expect that from Stripling, who has been a good pitcher and also has been chomping at the bit to get out and prove himself in a regular starting capacity. But May was a pleasant surprise, not in that he’s not a good pitcher, but in the fact he found out he might be the Opening Day starter, replacing Clayton Kershaw just the day before he was to start.

The bullpen has also been incredibly solid. Aside from Brusdar Graterol, Dennis Santana and Pedro Báez, no other relief pitcher has allowed a run. Dylan Floro and Blake Treinen have looked especially good, again with the short sample size caveat.

On the offense side, Justin Turner is off to a very hot start, batting .467 with four RBI and a 1.289 OPS. Normally he starts the season slow in April, maybe a summer start is what he needed all along. Max Muncy has two home runs, and Joc Pederson is also off to a very good start.

But on the flip side of the coin, there are some concerns. Neither Alex Wood nor Julio Urias had strong initial outings. Both issued three walks, and their command of the strike zone was not sharp. Still, the pitching staff overall gave up five runs in the Giants’ highest scoring game, not a number that is out of reach to overcome. Many runners were once again left stranded on the bases.

Mookie Betts has not had a hot start at all, but overall I’m not worried about him, because, he is Mookie Betts.

Mostly what was concerning to me was the lack of urgency the team seemed to have in both Saturday and Sunday’s games. In both games, the Dodgers were only two runs behind going into the late innings, and in both games they couldn’t quite seem to muster any energy to rally. I concede this could be because the crowd is not there to help pump them up, but that would conceivably be the case for the whole season and they need to figure out some way to get themselves going.

Of course, this all may be for naught anyway because as I write this, news is breaking that a total of 12 players and two members of the Miami Marlins pitching staff have tested positive for Covid-19. They were in Philadelphia playing the Phillies, who they could have now all potentially infected. Even if they didn’t, the New York Yankees are now slated to use the same clubhouse and dugout that the Marlins just occupied, starting Monday.

An outbreak this big on one team could have a huge rippling effect throughout the whole league, and this is what a lot of us were worried about from the beginning. Stay tuned for the repercussions of this throughout the day.

 

 

16 thoughts on “Dodgers Need to Find Ways to Spark Offense, If Season Continues

    1. You are right alex, sorry to say. This season was doomed right from the start. The worst of this virus has not even hit yet and we are playing in florida Texas, california etc. Cant believe the players are stupid enough to even play. Guess money trumps health and family. 40 people in a dressing room is like a barroom. I said before rather no baseball than 10 games then no baseball.hope I’m wrong but this virus is just heating up.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You think the baseball season is finished Alex but you feel that they could play college football this year with much larger squads in the locker rooms and the linemen literally breathing on each other at the line of scrimmage all game long? I admire your optimism.

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  1. First off, the Yankees-Phils game for tonight has been postponed. As has the Marlins game against Baltimore. So far, the Marlins are the only ones who have tested positive. Phils players are getting tested today. The Yankees have not traveled to Philly yet, and the Marlins have self isolated in their Philly hotel. The clubhouse the Marlins used is being re-sanitized as is the dugout. Protocols are in place while they try to figure out why so many of the team tested positive. The Marlins are the only team that has had this kind of spike. So, I am not really worried about the baseball season unless all of a sudden we seen cases in the double figures on a majority of the teams.

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  2. Some observations after 4 games. Why has Matt Beaty not yet got an at bat, and Edwin Rios only one????? Last night Monsieur Roberts is no managerial genius. I am pretty sure Beaty has got to be some sort of frustrated after not being used at all against the Giants. And with Roberts penchant for tinkering with the lineup, it is weird that Rios and Beaty have not had more opportunities. Not impressed with Urias game approach at all. He did not attack the strike zone and was consistently behind the hitters. That forced him to throw a strike and the Gnats took advantage of that. Darren Ruf was a Dodger for about 2 months in the winter before he went to the KBA. He was part of the return for Howie Kendrick along with former Dodger Darnell Sweeny. Now they go to Houston. They had better have their hitting shoes on. Buehler and May the scheduled pitchers. Lets hope Buehler is as sharp as he was in his final tune up.

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  3. But the good news bear is that even tho Urias wasn’t sharp his stuff is so good he still had a good result. One run five innings. Sure he has to be sharper against better teams and I think he will. He needs to trust his stuff and attack the zone. If he does he can be a co ace with Buehler for years to come. I love his makeup, everything about him! Wood on the other hand has no future with the Dodgers if his fastball tops out at 89.

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    1. Sorry to say but 89 is all you’re getting from Wood. When he made the All-star team a couple years back he was throwing 92-93 and missing bats with his slider but throwing that hard obviously took a toll because the 2nd half of that year he looked completely out of gas. Dustin May is ready to take that spot anyway. Stripling on the other hand looked like they will have to tear his starting spot away from him.

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  4. Wood was hitting 93 in spring camp. Somewhere between here and there, his fastball dissapeared. He also has not thrown a whole lot in the camp just completed. Sorry, I am not a huge believer in Urias. I have seen him do the same thing over and over, lose concentration, high pitch counts and not attack the strike zone. He does not have a killer mentality out there. They showed a stat that to me was very telling. His ERA as a starter is over 4. As a reliever it is in the low 2’s. I like White’s approach better. I also think May is more aggressive than he is.I am more concerned with the way Roberts manages close games. He did it again yesterday. With a chance to get back in the game. he left both Taylor and Kike in against RH pitchers that they have had trouble with, and left his 3 power hitting LH hitters on the bench, even though there was no one warming up for the Giants. I have said it all along, he makes some managerial decisions that are just head scratching. And where the H*** is Matt Beaty? He was one of the best off the bench last year, and he has yet to hit. Why have him on the roster if you are not going to use hi,? Especially when Kike, after a 4-5 start, is 2-13 since.

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  5. I’m not ready to give up on Urias yet but I think it’s time to temper expectations for him. He’s never going to be the ace he was billed to be but he can also be a very good #3 or #4 on a championship caliber team and that still has tremendous value. He’s got the stuff of an ace no question but you can tell he’s overthinking things on the mound whereas he should just trust his stuff and let it fly. If he gets out of his own head and starts working off his fastball to set up his breaking ball he will be effective. He’s got to learn to elevate his fastball more often and then bury his breaking ball in the dirt. I was encouraged by his start last night, he showed some balls working out of trouble in that last inning. I miss Ryu, Kenta and Hill but I’m very excited to see Julio, Strip and May finally get their shots. If all works out those 3 have way more talent than the 3 we let walk.

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  6. If is the biggest 2 letter word in the dictionary, and we only let Hill and Ryu walk. Maeda was traded. I am not giving up on Urias, I just have no confidence in the guy. He has shown he is better out of the pen. He is a nibbler. With his stuff he should be attacking hitters like they are trying to steal his lunch money. But he uses the hunt and peck method instead. Even White and Gonsolin know that they need to attack hitters. Giants just sat back and waited until he had to throw a strike and got hits. Yeah, he held them to one run, and ran his pitch count up doing it.

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  7. Urias has a lot of talent, that is a given. I am just not convinced he has the mental makeup to he a starter. If he turns around and starts attacking hitters, i believe he would be a better pitcher. I do not see him as an ace. Buehler has that kind of mentality. Urias does not, at least not yet. Barnes is what he is. A good defensive catcher. He may never be a great hitter, and Smith is obviously, or at least should be, the starter and play most of the games. Problem is the manager. Roberts makes a plan, and sticks to it. It cost him the game on Sunday. All his power hitters sat on the bench while he let Kike, who after a great first game is 2-13 with 4 K’s killed a rally with a weak ass grounder. To tell you the truth, I would have rather seen Barnes up in that situation than Kike, because he stays within himself and does not try to do too much. If he pitches like he did Sunday, Urias will not win many games. He might keep the Dodgers in the game, but remember this, pitching against one of the weaker lineups in the game, he allowed 8 base runners in 5 innings. He only made 78 pitches, but he was behind in the count too much. Against a good hitting team, he is going to get burned. Giants hitters layed off and waited for a mistake, and when they got one, they got a hit.

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  8. We now have an explanation for Wood’s performance – shoulder inflammation. He’s off to the IL. Sborz recalled. I would have preferred Gonsolin but I don’t get to make the decision.

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    1. Jeff, I was just thinking about that. I wonder if crucial lines up to take Wood‘s spot in the rotation in Arizona? Then maybe that’s why they brought in a reliever for now? I haven’t looked, just spit balling

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      1. I’ve heard mumblings that CK should be ready for Arizona but nothing is totally firm at this point. Catman is at the ready if they need him.
        And by the way Andy, spit balling is illegal, especially in the Covid era. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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