After Saturday’s loss at home to the Giants, the Dodgers officially passed the one-quarter mark of the season with a 10-5 record, as they currently trail the division-leading Rockies by a full game in the National League West.
At its current pace, the team would finished with a nicely rounded 40-20 record, which may or may not be good enough to win the division. The Rockies, of all teams, have the second-best ERA (2.65) among all NL starting rotations this season, which could conceivably go a long way in determining the division champ. Coincidentally, the Dodgers are sixth in the NL with a 3.48 mark as far as starting pitching ERA goes.
The good news is this year’s postseason will feature a whopping 16 teams—eight from both leagues—leaving only the most under-achieving clubs out. However, 60 games is an absolutely crazy sample size of a normal season, and anything is bound to happen by the time the playoffs roll around in October.
There’s already been a lot of emphasis on the Los Angeles offense, as the squad’s daily lineups are often scrutinized among both pundits and the fan base. We’ve talked several times about the importance of the success at the top of the order; but the Dodgers have recently turned to Joc Pederson, who is currently hitting .216, to lead off against righty pitching.
Few thought they would see this offensive juggernaut struggle as much as it has.
Among all the position players, a whopping seven—Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Will Smith, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes and Matt Beaty—have averages under .250. Four of those seven—Bellinger, Muncy, Barnes and Beaty—are hitting well below the Mendoza line.
Yet, heading into Sunday’s games, the Dodgers still lead the entire majors with 81 runs scored, and their +37 run differential is also the best in the bigs. Obviously, the problem is not with the offense as a whole, but rather keeping the bats consistent, which was the biggest problem the team faced against the stellar pitching of the Nationals in the 2019 NLDS.
With 45 games remaining on the regular-season schedule, some feel a steady and stable lineup—regardless of matchups—could benefit the team, but the versatility that skipper Dave Roberts has incorporated through his daily lineup cards has definitely been one of the driving forces for his team’s success in recent years.
A healthy Corey Seager makes a huge difference in the middle of the batting order, but the team’s offense has certainly been in feast or famine mode even with the 26-year-old shortstop leading the offensive charge.
Of course, there’s no reason for panic at all right now, but the thought remains about the offense slumbering during the early stages of the playoffs come October.
Although the season’s very short, there’s still plenty of time to adjust plans of attack, in addition to the maneuvering of key player personnel when appropriate.
Sunday’s lineup vs. righty Kevin Gausman:
- Pederson LF
- Betts RF
- Bellinger CF
- Turner 3B
- Muncy 2B
- Pollock DH
- Beaty 1B
- Smith C
- Hernandez SS
First pitch for Sunday’s series finale is slated for 1:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.