Dodgers Need to Find a Spark, and Quickly

(Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

“I think if you ask anyone on this team, they’ll tell you that we’ve really sucked on the offensive side”. Max Muncy, summing up what has gone on with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last month.

The Dodgers have just finished their road trip, winning only three of seven, and leaving them 2.5 games out of first.

Dropping two of three to the San Francisco Giants and splitting a four game series with the St Louis Cardinals is not going to get you any closer to winning the NL West, and the blame, still, falls squarely on the shoulders of the offense.

Having a bottom half of the lineup that routinely goes 0-for will do that to you.

The lineup for the afternoon game looked like the Dodgers had already won the series, and were not fighting for the division lead. Rest at this time of the season is paramount, as Manager Dave Roberts has mentioned time and again. Still, for a team with the second best record in all of baseball, the bottom half of the lineup inspired no one.

Mookie Betts and Trea Turner, owner of a 16 game hitting streak, also flipped their spots in the lineup, with Mookie back on top and Turner to the third spot, trying to find something that works.

The Dodgers tried to get something going, loading the bases with one run in and two outs in the second inning, only for Cody Bellinger to come to the plate. He immediately popped up the first pitch. Cody is 0-24 in his last 24 at bats.

The offense as a whole has seen big stretches of innings without any hits in games, going 0-15 Wednesday, 0-19 Monday, and no hits after the fifth inning on Thursday.

Dodgers seemingly have gotten away from those patented Patient Dodgers At-Bats. There is much less waiting out the pitcher, much less working the count, and much more swinging on first pitch type at bats.

This phenomenon can be attributed to the offense feeling the weight of this prolonged slump, everyone pressing and trying to do it all. As we all know, that rarely works.

Trea Turner mentioned after the game that the team is pressing, and they’ve “just got to show up and perform”. Easier said than done, when these days when the only aspect of the team that is showing up is the pitching. Without the stellar staff that they have, the team would not even be within spitting distance of the division.

What’s puzzling to many fans is why some players are still with the team and others are not. The loss of AJ Pollock to the injured list has definitely put a hamper on the outfield. But why Steven Souza Jr was brought back up, and more puzzling, why Billy McKinney is still in the starting lineup and pinch hitting over Matt Beaty, who’s currently hanging out in Oklahoma City, remains a mystery.

In his post game press conference, Roberts said the team is talking about calling up Matt Beaty soon.

“We’re having talks every day and he’s front of mind for sure.” One would think he can’t be worse than what they’ve got going now.

Before the matinee game against the Cardinals, the Dodgers made a few roster movements. Tony Gonsolin was reinstated from the 10-day IL, where had been since July 31 with shoulder inflammation. Andre Jackson was also brought back up to the big league club. In the corresponding moves, the Dodgers sent Mitch White back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and designated Neftali Feliz for assignment.

Gonsolin started Thursday’s game and the pre-game hope was that he would go somewhere around three innings, and 50 pitches. He was pretty close to that, going three innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks over 55 pitches.

After the game, Tony said it was nice to see that his velocity was getting up to 96 MPH, and that he “felt a lot more comfortable on the mound”. His return to the rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw most likely returning on Monday, will help out the pitching staff that has done all the heavy lifting.

I’ve said it many times, but this team has absolutely no pop. No fun, no excitement, no goofball in the dugout to keep things light. Hugs from Uncle Tío after homers and ‘dunkin on ‘Em’ and all of those team hand signals are fun, but they are not sparking the offense to be as formidable as it could be. The team is very, very good, on paper. And as long as they don’t find a way to get the offense going, the best team on paper will find themselves quickly ousted from the playoffs.

4 thoughts on “Dodgers Need to Find a Spark, and Quickly

  1. A few thoughts:
    *Would have rather seen Green dfa and Feliz kept on the roster.
    *Don’t talk about bringing back Beaty, DO IT! If he goes 0-Sept it won’t be much worse than what we have now.
    *Catman looked a little rusty out there today but somehow seemed better than he was earlier this year. Just needs better command and I think he’ll be an asset down the stretch. That will come with more reps.
    *Pitching staff is pitching most innings under high stress conditions because of the total lack of support from the offense. Watch out when the offense starts clicking again. We may see a bit of a letdown from the pitchers.
    *Too late for this year, but I would really like to see AF go after a couple of very good bat-to-ball hitters for the lineup for next year. That kind of hitter is much less prone to long slumps than a Belli type hitter who is always going for the fences.
    * We play 3 with the Pads while the Giants have 3 against the Cubs. Hope we aren’t more than 2.5 out by the end of the weekend.

  2. Excellent summary of where this team is right now Andy. Very few teams if any, could field a outfield of 3 players all hitting under the mendoza line. Could actually be another major league first.

  3. If you read some of the commenters on the Think Blue site they will tell you it’s not Bellingers fault. The reasons are he is hurt, recovering yada yada and also tell you he is a GREAT defender. Bellinger is a rally killer. But more importantly, I think he is a team chemistry killer. If you have played team sports. I played baseball up to JC. Team chemistry is what gives you your spark. Team chemistry is formed by doing team-enhancing actions. The most important of those is giving yourself up to move the man over. When teams are at parity every run counts. Constantly striking out or popping up and not moving the man over is a chemistry killer. Both Bellinger and Lux were guilty of this. Pollock, Turner (both of them) Betts will all make the team move and sacrifice. Bellinger continues his idiotic ways and swings from the heels.
    Roberts is too Happy happy to make the hard decision as I have said before Roberts is like a Happy Cruise Director he is not a Manager. If he went against Lasorda or Scioscia they would clean his clock. Roberts is one of the reasons the Dodgers have only won one WS with the best talent for the last at a minimum of 6 years. Roberts is more concerned with letting everybody play he runs it like Little League…

  4. Not bellingers fault !!! Oh the think blue writers don’t know much about baseball at the best of times. First of all it’s a serious injury but recovery time is supposed to be 8/10 weeks. Second of all why would the dodgers allow an injured player to keep on playing g and possibly agitating an existing injury. Why not rest and lots of rehab if that is there excuse. It’s inexcusable to continue to let him play. The dodgers training staff has always appeared aittle incompetent. Over time there is a direct correlation between the number of injuries a team suffers and the training.

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