Is Dodgers’ Offense Up for 2021 Playoff Challenge?

For as much as we thought pitching might be a potential problem for the team early in the season, an inconsistent offense is keeping the 2021 Dodgers from being something special.

However, as is the nature of baseball, that could change in the blink of an eye.

Up until around the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ overall offensive production was still ranked among the top teams in baseball, even though the inconsistencies were obvious. Those rankings had a lot to do with the many games when the team would pound their opponents with double-digit outputs. When the offense would go dormant the following night, the numbers always seemed to balance out, preventing the club from soaring to the top of the NL West.

Heading into Sunday’s games, the Dodgers are ranked 5th in the majors in run production, a category they’d been ranked in the Top 3 all year. They’ve fallen to 10th in baseball with a .746 team OPS and are 4th in long balls, another category they have dominated in recent years.

Those double-digit offensive outputs are no longer around to sway the stats.

Of course, there are many causes for the offensive inconsistencies. Mookie Betts has seen his average drop 25 points from 2020 after contending with a sore hip almost all season. Cody Bellinger’s average has fallen a monstrous 81 points since last year.

Aside from Will Smith, the players who typically hit in the No. 5 thru No. 8 holes have not been producing at all, particularly since AJ Pollock’s hamstring injury. Chris Taylor has gone two for his last 38 AB, which calculates to a dismal .053 average.

Since arriving in Los Angeles, outfielder Billy McKinney curiously garnered 98 plate appearances, tallying a depressing .146/.276/.232 slash line, which may or may not have led to his placement on the injured list.

In McKinney’s absence, we have seen Matt Beaty and Gavin Lux added to the active roster, with Lux getting the nod in left field on Friday, yet another defensive spot in which he’s unfamiliar.

Lux’s inclusion in the lineup might indicate that Bellinger’s long-lasting slump is a reality, something fans seemed to be certain of for a while.

However, in spite of the offensive hole left by Pollock, the potential is there for the team to succeed down the stretch of 2021, especially if skipper Dave Roberts sticks to a somewhat regular lineup, something he suggested he would do at the conclusion of the most recent series against the Cardinals.

As we all know, things could change quickly. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple sparks, like Betts being moved back to the leadoff spot and Taylor catching fire at the dish.

The Los Angeles pitching staff has shown that it is ready for the 2021 playoff challenge, and now it’s time for the offense to respond similarly — in a consistent fashion.

20 thoughts on “Is Dodgers’ Offense Up for 2021 Playoff Challenge?

  1. Roberts is using Lux a guy that is only marginally better than Bellinger rather than Beatty who has better offensive skills and has played the outfield. It makes no sense. They should have fired Roberts when he had the best teams the last 6 years and didn’t win the WS not celebrate his one win with an overwhelmingly more talented team.
    On two different Dodger blogs, I read there is a rumor Robert’s does not like guys from the South. No evidence or basis for this but in today’s society there doesn’t appear to be that need to verify rumors.
    Roberts hopefully will stop treating the team as if it’s a Little League outfit that Everyone has to play. Otherwise, the only trophy they are going to get is the dreaded Participation Trophy. Is the Dodger brass going to be happy with that one Again? With this budget-busting team?
    When we played if you didn’t sacrifice to more the runner or at least attempt to the manager would tear you up and possibly bench you. No danger of that with Mr. Nice Roberts. It’s why there is no spark they are not a team. It’s everybody for themselves. I remember not being able to get the ball to the right side once to move the runner from second to third. They had me practice for a week how to bunt or chop the ball to the right side. I will never forget it and never again failed to move the runner. It’s a team sport…Ya gotta be able to get your bat on the ball…I had more respect for the coaches and managers because they enforced the team spirit.

    .

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    1. I’m not the world’s biggest Dave Roberts fan but what the hell is this “doesn’t like guys from the South” garbage and who (which players) is that supposed to apply to? I don’t know Doc, but I would bet that he makes up his mind about a person, not by where he’s from, but by what kind of person he is.

      And while we’re spreading rumors, did you folks know that Billy McKinney doesn’t like people from the northeast corner of South Carolina? Pass it on.

      And by the way, this team, which may very well not win the division, will almost definitely win over 100 games with a lot of their better players having missed anywhere from 25% of the season and upward. That, far more than Doc’s management style is why we’re in second place right now.

      Geez, just read what I wrote. I sound very angry today. Nothing personal TMax and I’m not suggesting you made up that Doc rumor.

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      1. No, I did not make up the rumor but it was on two very popular Dodger blogs and I admit I shouldn’t have repeated it. But I always shake my head when people point to the record as an affirmation of Doc’s prowess. The Dodgers have for the last what 7 years? Had one of the top 2-3 teams in the MLB and they should have been in the WS and won it many of those years. Please unless you can point to what Doc does to give them more wins than they should have do not point to their winning record to prove Doc’s management skills.
        There was a Great Southern Football Coach that said about another Great Coach and winning with teams. “He can take His and beat your’n and he can take Your’n and beat His’n”
        That was Lasorda. Roberts can’t even take one of the most talented teams and get to the WS consistently. Everyone has to play///

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      2. I don’t think Doc is the greatest strategist and I certainly wouldn’t consider him one of the all time great managers, but he’s managed the team for 5 seasons (not including the current one) and has gotten them to the WS 3 times. We probably would have won the Houston series if not for their cheating. Everyone agrees that Boston was by far the better team the year they beat us, and last year we did win.

        Tommy managed the Dodgers for 20 years, only got to the WS 4 times and only won 2 times. You may like Tommy’s style and/or strategy better, but I don’t think you can say he was more successful.

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      3. I disagree about the difference between Roberts and Tommy. Roberts has the biggest money group and strongest organization In baseball currently in my opinion and many others. Lasorda did not have the most talented team on paper for 5 years running. Lasorda had a Team. Roberts has a group of highly paid individuals. There is a difference. There were several organizations that had better talent during those 20 years when Tommy was managing. Today with all of the disruption with injuries and the Bauer fiasco. Look at the team. Muncy, T Turner, Seager, J Turner, Smith, Taylor, Lux, and Belling (?). The Rotation now with Kershaw coming back and Urias, Buehler, Scherzer, and possibly Price and Gonsolin.
        This team collectively with the bullpen and bench is more talented than any in baseball. All of the Baseball people agree. This team was rated to win over 100 games. I thought 104. They will come close to that. Do I give Roberts anty credit for that. Absolutely NOT. they should win those games. What managers like Lasorda added was like WAR. Lasorda had a much higher WAR than Roberts. I think the pitching coach for the Dodgers should be offered a manager’s job. Mark Prior has done a remarkable job.

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      4. I liked Tommy although his “shtick” got a little old sometimes. He was certainly a great ambassador for baseball and yes, I would probably pick him over Roberts as my manager if I had to choose. That said, I doubt he’d be into analytics so I’m guessing that he and Friedman would not do well together. Although I’m the one who thought the LaRussa hiring in Chicago would totally backfire, so what do I know.

        I read recently that, with the exception of the Padres, the Dodgers had lost the most WAR to injury this year. The Giants weren’t even close. If the Dodgers had been able to field the lineup they thought they would have for most of the year I think they could very likely have won 110-115 games. If you want to say that with Lasorda instead of Roberts that would have been 120, go for it.

        We can definitely agree on Prior. I think he’s done a great job.

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      5. The thing about Tommy was he made sure everyone was pulling for the Team. If you didn’t move the man over you heard about it. That is what is missing with Roberts. He is a very nice guy. I am sure he is a wonderful person. Roberts wants everyone to be Happy. He plays everybody thinking that is a great thing. But he sits guys down when they are on a hot streak. His in-game pitcher management has lost key games in the playoffs. His team does not play together. In my mind, he has a WAR of at minimum Zero and possibly in the minus column. He has certainly made pitching decisions in playoff games that cost us those series. The only reason the Dodgers won the WS is that the Ray Manager pulled a Roberts before Roberts could. Otherwise, we probably would have lost that one also. Roberts has to have a significantly better team to win. And most of the time he does.

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      6. You have more of a problem with Doc than I do but the thing he does that drives me the most crazy, and you just pointed it out, is resting a guy who is on a hot streak. No player wants to sit when he’s hot, no matter how tired he is, and Doc seems to do that constantly.

        So be it. I’d rather be a Dodger fan with Doc as the manager than an Orioles, Pirates (fill in any team you want) fan without him.

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  2. I agree that most of our hitters who are currently slumping (with the exception of Belli) could very easily start on a hot streak from one at bat to the next.

    On the other hand, our pitching which has been great all year could go into a temporary nosedive at any minute.

    I absolutely can’t explain the Giants’ success this year, but I’ve become a believer. It’s not just luck that’s put them in first place and we may just have to get used to the idea of playing a Wild Card game. We’ll still have the advantage of a home game and either Max or Walker as our starter, but that also means the guy who starts the WC game (assuming we win it) will probably only be available to pitch one game in the NLDS.

    We’re going to need some major help from the Padres in order to catch the Giants (they have 10 games left with each other), but Cronenworth’s getting his finger fractured by that Urias pitch last night isn’t going to help. Hopefully he’ll only be out about a week.

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      1. You’re spouting nonsense, Schlossman. Farhan loves the Russians. As a matter of fact, he’s about to sign a fireballing left handed pitcher named Anatoly Kuznetsov from Vladivostok. Hits 99 on the gun and has agreed to provide borscht for the clubhouse after every victory.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The blogs were attempting to understand why Bellinger (born in AZ) was always getting playing time and Lux born in WI given a start in the outfield where he had little to no experience versus Beaty a guy from Georgia who has at least made contact given little or no opportunities at all.
        This is an unfounded rumor absolutely. But when you make very bad decisions. Lux went O for last night even against a right-hander, you have people that are passionate about their team attempting to understand your very unsupportable decisions. What you get is wild speculation.
        It’s Robert’s fault for making decisions that make NO SENSE… Yep put a line up out there with 3 guys hitting below the Mendoza line and the 4th guy hitting 220. Your team only scores 1 run I am Shocked!! Shocked I say.. Love Casablanca…

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      3. THAT is the reasoning they used for the fact that Lux started over Belli? Unbelievable.
        Do me a favor, Tmax, since I don’t know which blogs you’re referring to, but they obviously love idiotic rumors.
        Spread this one for me:
        Bulletin: Dave Roberts has just resigned, effective immediately, because he refuses to play the following players, who are from the South, and we all know he doesn’t like guys from the South: Trea Turner (Florida), Seager (North Carolina), CT3 (Virginia), Betts (Tennessee), Smith and Buehler (Kentucky) just to name a few. And if you want to include Texas, add Kershaw and Muncy.

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      4. I vote for the garlic fries they are the best. Maybe the problem is vampires! Certainly none around the Giants stadium. If you are ever around there and love Garlic try the Stinking Rose very garlic-infused Italian cuisine. I was there with a large party and it was fun.

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      5. Since when are rumor people sensible? Ever hear of Qanon? Do you know they estimate there are over a Million acolytes? Fastest growing cult in the US.
        Don’t forget McKinney he is from TX also…
        I think Roberts is just that much of a Mr. Rogers. Participation Trophies. Everybody has to play as he wants EVERYONE HAPPY!!
        I am sure he is a very nice guy. But I will take a snarling Durocher type over him any day. Or an Alston or a Lasorda.Nice guys generally finish Last! A Type of people win..

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    1. The giants over the last decade or so have had an uncanny ability to win the big games, on the big stage, without the best team on paper. It’s looking more and more like another one of those years for the giants. And more and more like a normal dodger season even with a better team on paper.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you think it has something to do with the weather or the excellent garlic fries at the stadium? There’s no other explanation that I can come up with. Can’t even say it was Bochy because they’re now doing it with Kapler.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Just my 2 cents on the incompetent roberts. There reason there is so much anger around this team over the years is the perception that we have a much better team than our record shows with little results. Roberts must take the brunt of responsibility for that failure. On the other hand we sometimes forget that the west division over the past decade has included 4 very poor division rivals, and 80 games a year against 4 inferior teams inflates the pitching and batting results considerably including of course the overall team record. Roberts just compounds the problem with his lack of management skills. The players know this better than we do. Resigning players will always be a problem.

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  4. We don’t know right now but we’ll probably find out.
    Dodgers haven’t really had to resign anyone except Turner and kenly early in this administration that i can think of. Pitchers are different from position players. Position players want to play every day and want to be treated fairly.
    Actually just this year we’ve had a dozen or so sign here, play a few games and leave.

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