Dodgers Need Offense to Step Up Down Final Stretch

Happy Monday and Happy Labor Day to all you Los Angeles Dodgers fans out there. We find ourselves one game out of first in the NL West, after yet another frustrating series against the San Francisco Giants.

Walker Buehler, who has been nails in big starts all throughout his career, got knocked around. Many men were left on base, something that is not a rare occurrence. And the umpire definitely did not help things, calling out Mookie Betts in the top of the ninth on a pitch that was most definitely not a strike.

The series also saw the loss of AJ Pollock to the IL, as he suffered a grade 2 hamstring pull while trying to steal third Saturday. While Manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that AJ felt much better Sunday, he still is expected to be out a few weeks.

Taking Pollock permanently out of the lineup for awhile means that Cody Bellinger will be back in the lineup full time. Belli is currently batting .167, and has a -1.2 WAR. His unwillingness to change his approach at the plate is leaving a hole in the bottom of the lineup every night. But his defense in center is what keeps him in the lineup.

Regardless of Bellinger, however, the rest of the lineup also needs to do their job. Max Muncy, usually a verified Giants Killer, Muncy managed one hit in the whole series against the Giants. Trea Turner’s average has dropped from .321 to .289. Across the board, the vaunted offense is failing the team.

The pitching has been what is keeping them in games, and hopefully more reinforcement is coming in the next week or so. Clayton Kershaw, on the injured list since July 7, is slated to pitch three innings in Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. If all goes well in that outing, he will be reinstated on the active roster.

Tony Gonsolin threw 41 pitches in 2.1 innings of work in a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He also could be activated soon, but is unlikely to pitch in this week’s series against the St Louis Cardinals.

Danny Duffy, acquired at the trade deadline from Kansas City, also is seemingly getting closer to seeing his Dodger debut. Duffy threw a bullpen session at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Saturday. As long as he came out of that ok, he will have another bullpen before throwing a sim game later this week.

The Dodgers are in St Louis for a four game set against the Cardinals. Besides Max Scherzer starting on Monday, no other starters have yet been named. The Dodgers will no doubt have to get through some more bullpen games before Julio Urías and Buehler’s turns come around in the rotation. David Price bas been battling an arm issue, and while he pitched in Sunday’s game, his next start is in question.

The offense has been in a lull for quite some time and as the Dodgers can see the regular season finish line, now would be the perfect time for it to heat up so they can retake the NL West and head into the playoffs with some good momentum.

23 thoughts on “Dodgers Need Offense to Step Up Down Final Stretch

  1. The offense has been the problem pretty much the whole year and even more so recently.
    With the Giants playing the Rox for 3 and the Dodgers in St. Louis for 4, I’ll be thrilled if we’re only 1.5 games back after those series are completed. Looks like we may be forced into another bullpen game or two this series, but we all know bullpen games haven’t been the problem, the offense has.

  2. Andy quit that. No outfielder in major league history has been good enough defensively
    to overcome a 169 average. Or a 200 average or a 220 average. And there’s been a.lot of centerfielders far superior to Cody bagging groceries as the saying goes

    1. Well, sure. But that’s why he’s out there, because of his defense. If he didn’t have that, he’d be elsewhere. And who is going to be better out there right now?

      1. How about someone hitting 220 or even 200. I get your.point but our vaunted farm system can’t be that pathetic.

      2. You’d think not but they seem unwilling to make changes. Lux and Beaty stuck in AAA for awhile it seems (Lux not CF I know). I don’t get why McKinney over Beaty

      3. I think the simple explanation for why McKinney is here and Beaty isn’t is defense. For whatever reason they value McKinney’s defense more than Beaty’s offense, a conclusion with which I do not agree. Now that Souza (a decent defensive outfielder) is probably going to be activated in the next couple of days, we may see McKinney’s departure. Another factor is that he has no options left so when they take him off the 28-man roster, he’s gone, unless he passes through waivers.

        By the way, Lux started in center field yesterday at OKC, so they are definitely experimenting with him.

  3. Dodgers have brought back Neftali Feliz, who in a VERY short time here did fine and was then sent packing. Vasquez optioned to make room. He also looked pretty good while he was here but I suppose the veteran presence is preferred.

    Stephen Souza Jr has been added to the taxi squad and Doc said he might be added to the 28-man roster as early as tomorrow. I believe he’s a good enough fielder that we can now dispense with Mr. McKinney’s services. I would guess we will see Souza in the starting lineup tomorrow (they’re throwing a lefty) and Belli on the bench. And we also need to bring back Matt Beaty as a bat off the bench or even a start or two since our guys look pretty tired right about now.

    1. Hold it Jeff. Mckinney is on of our better hitting outfielders. He’s barely below the mendoza line. Certainly a upgrade over the mendoza minus 30 outfielder.

  4. Article in today’s LA Times from Hernandez talking about the offense and Bellinger.
    Reks and Raley are still on the 40 man roster I believe. Both are hitting reasonably well in the minors and both had issues offensively at the MLB level in very short stints. Bellinger’s average is the second-lowest in the NLB and dropping. His at-bats with RISP are pathetic when pitchers are bearing down on him as he has huge holes amongst his swing and lunges for balls outside. Surely Reks, Raley, or a blind guy off the street could bat better. This crap about his defensive prowess is getting thin. There are lots of guys as Gordon says bagging groceries that could hit as well or not hit as it were. I blame Roberts as he sounds like he was the one choosing McKinney and Bellinger over Beaty and anybody on the 40 man roster that can hit.
    Heck, bring up Vargas from Tulsa. That young man can at least make contact.

  5. Griping about Bellinger is a waste of energy. He is what he is this season, and he is trying to adjust on the fly, against MLB pitching in the thick of a pennant race, first one the Dodgers have been involved in since 2018. 19 and 20 they cruised and were clearly the class of the league. Now they are being challenged by a team that except for a few vets, is a patchwork of Veterans, rookies and a bunch of retreads. And amazingly, the Giants remind me a whole lot of the 1959 Dodger championship team. Leftovers from Brooklyn who contributed to winning the playoffs against the Braves and had decent seasons, rookies like Sherry and Wills who were big contributors, journey men like Essegian, guys like Craig, who won 7 games down the stretch, none bigger than his last 2 wins which both were complete games. It is not that easy to rework your mechanics in season. And his problems have just gotten worse. I feel for the kid. He has to be feeling worse than any of us do. And just a couple of weeks ago when it looked like he might be coming out of it, only to tank again? That has to be maddening. I did see two positives yesterday, he tried to bunt for a hit, and then with 2 strikes he took the ball to left. Did not get a hit, but at least he went where the ball was pitched. He also scorched a ball in his last at bat, but hit in really bad luck as the swing man in the shift caught it. That won’t be there next season if they limit the players to two on each side of 2nd base and no one can be on the grass.

    1. Yep called the Bellinger line. He has such huge potential! Huge!! and defensive prowess that they don’t care he has been mediocre at best since August of 2019. They are determined to play him even if he is so stubborn he keeps hitting into the shift with an average barely above .100 for the last few months.. Huge potential
      He will hit .400 with lots of home runs Real Soon Now! Pay no attention to the actual numbers Huge!!

      1. Everyone talks about his defense but you are right his defense has been only average the past few years. Most players deteriorate defensively as their offense deteriorates, I think a mental situation. I get sick of hearing about his defense when he is hitting 160 and dropping. Anyone who thinks a average or even slightly below average defensive outfielder, hitting 260 is less valuable than a average or even above average outfielder hitting even 200 just doesn’t understand baseball.

      2. Baseball is a game of stats. When people tell you the stats of a player do not matter they are either wishful thinking or deceiving themselves. Great teams grind the opposing pitchers with tough high pitch counts. Giving pitchers a free inning or more is a recipe for losing. The other night the Dodgers had McKinney, Nellinger, Barnes, and the pitcher giving the pitcher an easy 3 1/2 outs in a row. I am giving Barnes some cred. Bellinger is a rally killer and an inning killer Bellinger has a 162 BA and even worse a 237 OBP! McKinney has a 152 BA and a 284 OBP,
        Defense is important but the problem the Dodgers are having is offense/// I no longer believe in the might of the Dodger Farm System and it is very obvious neither do they! Bellinger has the second-lowest BA of any regular roster player. And obviously, the Dodgers do not believe anyone on the farm is better than Bellinger or Mckinney?? WOW!!

      3. Agree that giving the opposing pitcher 3.5 outs in a row out of a 9 man lineup is not a good thing.
        We’ve brought up a number of guys from OKC this year and just about to a man they haven’t done any better than McKinney and Bellinger. Since Belli is a former MVP and McKinney is out of options, that may be why those two guys are still here instead of Reks, Raley, etc. getting a second shot. Souza is here simply because he is a right handed hitting outfielder and AJ is presently indisposed.

        The top couple of rungs of our farm system are weak right now but the lower rungs have some really excellent prospects. None of the guys who came up from OKC this year were ever considered can’t miss prospects. Give the system another year or two and you’ll see some guys that can really make a difference.

        In the meanwhile, we’ll just have to settle for a team that’s on pace to win 103 games this year despite having an incredible amount of injuries to some of its most important players. And that doesn’t even count the Bauer situation.

      4. I agree that this team is amazing and the Dodger organization is to be commended. The Bauer situation is one of their own making as they obviously did not perform the proper research. If I was going to invest over $100 Million on someone I sure would investigate them THOROUGHLY.
        As far as the younger level I agree they have some great prospects. I really like Vargas as he is a player that has made contact at every level. Since he was promoted to AA he is continuing to excel, unlike Hoese. Busch looks good as does Pages and Rodriguez. Kendall has even been better recently at making an impact. Heck if the Dodgers want someone that can’t make contact as a defensive wizard with speed and arm they should promote Kendall at least he could steal some bases if he managed to get aboard.
        Reks and Raley so far have made contact in the minors. Bellinger has large holes in his stance and approach. Bellinger has proven not to be concerned about the team as he does not attempt to change his batting approach to possibly poke the ball to the left side to get on base or move the runner over. If his stance is so unbalanced as to not allow him to do that he should change it. Bellinger has been below average since August of 2019 and terrible in the playoffs why carry him I don’t get it? Lots of very successful retired players have stated that Bellinger’s stance and approach are flawed. If he has not been very successful since August 2019 why hasn’t he changed it or why have the Dodgers not demanded he change it or demoted him…??
        His glory year was years ago.

  6. The only thing less reliable than a top prospect is a lower rung prospect with potential. I like to remind d people that in the past 10 years we’ve never developed a first baseman, 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman or outfielder, depending where you place bellinger. Catcher and shortstop. That’s it. Good on pitching though. That’s why I’m not a prospect fan.and you are right we should be happy with 100 wins. There are about 25 teams that would die for 100 wins.

    1. We developed an outfielder, Mookie Betts. We just developed him in a Boston uniform. 🙂
      You make an interesting point. We have certainly developed better pitching than position players. That said, I expect Vargas, Busch and Pages to all be Hall of Famers. And I expect to win the lottery this week.

      1. Dodgers are very good at selecting and developing pitchers, there are several young ones that look good like Miller and Beeter. Along with Jackson and Pepiot. Plus the Dodgers have Buehler, Urias, and Gonsolin. May will be back in a year or so. Next year the bullpen has Kahnle, and Duffy coming back from injury possibly Morrow and Nelson.
        Hitting is very difficult. My experience says that guys that have always made contact are a better bet to survive in the MLB. I like Vargas. But then some guys figure it out like Muncy, Taylor, and Turner.
        So next year whatever there is left of it after the strike do the Dodgers sign Seager?

      2. Money considerations aside (and they aren’t a small consideration by any means), I don’t see Seager and Trea on the same team at the same time, because they both want to play shortstop long term and they’ll have plenty of options to do just that for a number of teams.

        Assuming that they would both like to be here if they could be the shortstop, AF will have to ultimately decide which guy he’d rather throw his money at. And, although I don’t even want to think of this possibility, we might wind up losing Corey after this season because AF would prefer Trea at short, or he wants to play for an east coast team, or he wants to play with his brother, or he wants to play specifically with the Yanks, or someone offers him more money, and then we might lose Trea after next season because he would rather play somewhere else or someone will pay him more.

        If Andrew does not have a major preference then his best (read safest) strategy would be to try to sign Corey this winter and if successful, be ready to wave good-bye to Trea after next year. That way he at least has one of them. Or, he could try to extend Trea this winter and then wave good-bye to Corey.

        I could be wrong about my original assumption, but I just don’t see either one of those guys signing to be anything other than the shortstop.

      3. I think you are right. Seager’s insistence to play SS will not allow the Dodgers to keep both. Defensively Turner is the better shortstop, hits for a higher batting average, steals bases, his speed is a game-changer, and can play other positions something the Dodgers value. If Trea Turner refuses to sign a large extension they need to go after Seager. Seager is not as good a defender and has serious injury issues. Seager has proven to be a clutch performer in the playoffs. Before the Turner acquisition, I thought Seager would leave to play on the East Coast especially with Boras asking for a huge payday. Now with the possibility to extend Turner I still think Seager leaves. I wish things could allow them both to play together but Seager’s reportedly fixated on SS a position he is below average defensively.
        Two things will also impact what the Dodgers do in 2022. Bauer’s situation needs to be resolved along with the 75-100 million in contact. Do they re-sign Scherzer? They would be crazy not to if at all possible. The Players Labor Contract will be renegotiated before the start of the 2022 season. The owners want the total salary budget to be less which would severely impact the Dodgers. I do not believe the Union will go for it. I believe there will be a long bitter strike as neither side trusts the other.

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