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.
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.