While the lack of offense from the Dodgers came as no surprise to some Los Angeles fans, there were others who hoped that the bats would get in gear for the beginning of the NLDS against the Giants.
Unfortunately, that never happened.
I know we have been using a lot of different words to describe the Los Angeles offense this year, and sluggish probably isn’t the ideal term, since many of the players were chasing and a bit more aggressive than usual in the opener. Homeplate umpire Carlos Torres didn’t help much with an inconsistent strike zone, but the bottom line is that the Dodgers didn’t deliver when it mattered most — in Game 1, anyway.
I’ve been watching Dodger baseball for a lot of years, and never have I seen an offense so inconsistent. People not familiar with the team feel like Los Angeles fans are overreacting when they discuss these inconsistencies, but when you see the team performing from one extreme to the next on a daily basis, you can’t help but try to seek some answers.
The good news is that the NLDS is a five-game series, so there’s plenty of time for the team to rebound.
Before Game 1, there were some fan conversations about Chris Taylor not getting the opportunity to start. Skipper Dave Roberts has stated previously that he values Cody Bellinger’s defense, but there could come a time when Taylor’s bat is more valuable than Bellinger’s glove, even when considering how dismal Taylor closed out the regular season offensively.
To make matters worse, AJ Pollock’s offense in the playoffs is not getting any better. Heading into Saturday’s Game 2, Pollock has a career postseason slash line of .162/.225/.270 over 80 plate appearances spanning nine different series. Additionally, Matt Beaty has posted a career playoff average of .214 over four playoff series of his own.
Obviously, Albert Pujols is far removed from his best years, but the future Hall-of-Famer has a career postseason average of .321 with a 1.026 OPS, leaving many fans wondering if he’d be able to at least provide a spark if the offense finds itself slumbering in Game 2.
Roberts stated in the postgame on Friday that Taylor would start in center field and Bellinger at first base in Game 2. That adjustment could be beneficial; but, in a sense, it says that the skipper prefers Bellinger’s potential output over Beaty’s.
Let’s see if that trend continues in NLDS Game 2 when the Dodgers face righty Kevin Gausman, who looks to make his first-ever postseason start and his first playoff appearance since a 2018 relief spot with the Braves.