So far this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have used superior pitching, decent offense and sound defense to produce one of the best records in baseball. Despite their success, there have been some areas of concern for fans, primarily when it comes to offensive consistency.
Heading into the series against Chicago, the Dodgers have dropped to 11th in the majors with a not-so-impressive .239 team batting average. That mark is good enough for sixth in the National League, trailing their weekend host Cubs for fifth place by a few percentage points.
The Dodgers are tied for tenth in the bigs with 114 runs scored, a position they are not accustomed to being in after regularly hanging around the Top 5 the last handful of years. However, their +57-run differential is still the best in baseball, suggesting that they typically destroy their opponents one night while falling silent the next.
This offensive inconsistency is something we’ve seen often over the last few seasons, and one of the primary reasons behind it is that several of the team’s key offensive contributors are extremely streaky.
A handful of daily starters are sitting below a .250 season batting average. Some of these players have shown improvement in recent games, as batters like Mookie Betts have increased their averages as high as 20 points over the past week. Despite some minor signs of promise, Max Muncy has a team-low .151 average after logging 91 plate appearances so far.
The same goes for Justin Turner with a .183 average. Cody Bellinger, who earned NL Player of the Week honors for April 18-24, has fallen back down to a .205/.275/.434 slash line. Over his last 31 plate appearances, Bellinger is hitting .071 (2-for-28) with nine punchouts.
Things are a lot different on the pitching front. The Dodgers are far and away the team ERA leaders in the majors with a 2.21 combined ERA, light years ahead of the second-place Yankees with a 2.60 mark. All six Los Angeles starters — including Tyler Anderson — have ERAs below 2.55. Tony Gonsolin leads the way with a 1.64 ERA, and Julio Urias is not far behind at 1.88.
Clayton Kershaw leads the entire team with a ridiculous 0.696 WHIP over an even 23 innings pitched heading into Saturday’s early game.
What’s even more impressive is that Los Angeles starting pitching has a combined 1.90 ERA to dominate the big leagues. The bullpen’s combined 2.65 ERA is good enough for third in the majors.
We’ve been talking a lot about how the division is certainly not decided in the spring months, but when the club is facing some of the league’s worst teams so early in the year, it’s critical to capitalize and work out some of the kinks — especially on offense in the case of the Dodgers.
Sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley is a great place to start.
10 thoughts on “More Team Notes Ahead of Cubs Series at Wrigley”
Yes, sweeping the Cubs would be great. I’ll be thrilled if we can take two out of three.
It’s very hard to sweep a doubleheader these days.
And we also tend to let our guard down when we play teams that aren’t expected to beat us.
Kershaw says he doesn’t like pitching in Wrigley and Anderson is due for a stinker.
Yep, I’ll be thrilled if we can come out of Chicago with two wins.
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Muncy has said his elbow is not completely healed. If a player is at 80% and his production shows his injury has him struggling why not let him rehab? The Dodgers have players that can play the infield. Put Muncy on the IL and let Taylor and Lux play 2nd base. Outman is on the 40 man he is a solid defensive outfielder. Can he hit better than 150? I don’t know why not give him some MLB experience.
Bellinger is a gold glove center fielder which is incredibly valuable all by itself. I still say he is mental. He no longer has any injury complaints yet gets in streaks where he cannot put his bat on a ball and strikes out which is highly detrimental to the offense. At least put the ball in play to move a runner over. Have you seen the shift they put on for Bellinger? The only infield defender is standing near 2nd base! Why would a player in a huge slump be so stubborn as to not hit the ball to the left side? In many cases with his speed its a guaranteed double! Wouldn’t that help the Team? It is a team sport last I looked.
Props to Gonsolin proving he is a major league talented player…
I also think they will win 2 out of 3.
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They should bring up Pillar to play LF. Put Muncy on the IL for 60 days.
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Pillar is an incredible outfielder and has been tearing it up in OKC. I have been watching them on MILB. Right now MILB is only $25 for the year if I have an MLB Subscription. Yea Pillar is a great choice although I don’t think he is on the 40 man roster.
Dodgers won the first game with Kershaw demonstrating Master Class pitching. Young pitchers should watch Kershaw. He shows how control, changing pitch eye level, and speed can dominate a lineup. Urias was doing that the other night also. Curious to see how Anderson fares in the second game.
Freeman is amazing. He works counts, goes with the pitch, and consistently makes contact. Plus he is a heads-up defender. He fielded an overthrow and picked off a runner early in the game. The more I watch Freeman the more I am amazed the Braves let him go. Freeman does everything well and has a very high baseball IQ.
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Who would have guessed Kersh would be 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA five starts into the season?
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Who would have guessed? Well it certainly wouldn’t be me considering my comments above about how hard it is to sweep a doubleheader and how Anderson was due for a bad game.
Even though they don’t look like they are playing up to speed, they keep winning.
Can Anderson keep doing this? It’s not possible, right?
Liking our chances for the sweep with Buehler. I am wondering how long Dave keeps running Muncy out there in the 4, 5, or 6 hole. He needs to hit in the 8 or 9 hole, if at all. I believe he needs a stint on the IL. Bring up Pillar to play LF and let Taylor, Lux, JT, and Rios hold down 2nd and 3rd base.
Oh please. No more 34 year old retreads. Let’s start giving all the young prospect’s some exposure to the major leagues. Or even lamb or zmac, heaven forbid. last year we discovered that our prospects weren’t prospects and they are now all gone. Surely there is someone down there who is ready to play. And did they really call up robbie erlin?????