On the offensive side of things, there’s probably not a streakier hitter on the Dodgers‘ entire roster than catcher Yasmani Grandal. When he’s hot, he’s often capable of carrying the team’s production on his own shoulders, but when he’s cold, he sometimes shuts down completely. During these quiet stretches, the club’s output with the lumber frequently feels the effects of such nosedives, especially when he’s entrenched smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles batting order.
Being that the San Francisco Giants have resided in the cellar of the National League West for almost the entirety of the season, coupled with the fact that they are only a few games away from the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in all of baseball, one would have presumed that a three-game series at AT&T Park was just what the doctor ordered to ease the Los Angeles Dodgers out of perhaps one of their worst team slumps in decades.
While there’s been very heavy speculation lately about the effectiveness of the Dodgers‘ most common batting orders, there’s little guarantee that moving around several regular pieces will make a huge difference in the overall potency of the offense. The same can be said about moving up right fielder Yasiel Puig in the lineup—he’s definitely thrived in the lower part of the order, but when given the chance to hit in the middle, hasn’t made much of a notable difference at all.
Without question, there’s no one particular area of the team that can take the brunt of the blame for the Dodgers‘ current losing skid. It was only less than a week ago that the starting pitching was borderline horrendous, yet once that particular problem began fixing itself, a major epidemic of ineffectiveness started to lurk over the majority of the bullpen. All this while the offense, which was once shouldering a huge load of the club’s success, has become nearly dormant.
During the middle contest of a three-game series against the Padres last weekend, we noted a statistic on Twitter about how the No. 5 hole in the Dodgers lineup has been the least productive of all the spots in the batting order this season, excluding the No. 9 slot.
To say the Dodgers‘ offense has been lackluster lately would be a bit of an understatement. After scoring 10 runs in Milwaukee last Friday, the Dodgers have only scored five runs in five games since then. Granted, they were facing some of the best pitchers they’ve face so far in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but still the offense has left something to be desired.
Last year, a few stubborn fans who didn’t care to comprehend simple math believed it to be a season-long jinx. But only ten games into the 2017 campaign, the struggles the Dodgers have been wrestling with against left-handed pitching have become so obvious that other teams are realigning their pitching rotation when they see a series vs. Los Angeles appear on their respective schedules.
So far during the young 2017 season, one of the more common lineup themes of the Dodgers has been to employ utility man Enrique Hernandez in center field against left-handed pitching, while stashing away Joc Pederson on the pine for possible appearances later in games against righty pitching, or for his skills as a defensive replacement.
With all the endless discussions currently in the news surrounding the prospective layouts of the club’s Opening Day 25-man roster, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but envision the overwhelming amount of depth and skill lurking on the fringe of the bigs at Triple-A Oklahoma City. If the major league squad stays relatively healthy and productive throughout the regular season, the crew at OKC will not only possess some of the best player talent in the Pacific Coast League, but will also be almost untouchable en route to yet another American Northern divisional crown.
One of several highlights during Tuesday’s annual Cactus League media day occurred when GM Farhan Zaidi suggested that the Dodgers intend to find more days off for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez over the course of the regular season.