What is Wrong with the Offense?


The million-dollar question, huh?

No seriously. The eight guys in any given lineup not named Andre Ethier are probably making a combined $1 million this year.

There is nobody else who strikes fear in an opposing pitcher. Not one player who could go on a home run binge.

Hell, most of the lineup is either another team’s cast off veteran or just a baby, fresh from AAA – a wide-eyed doe wondering at fastballs that cut sharper and players who run faster and hit harder than they have ever seen before.

And that’s really bad news.

Because whichever one of those baseball gods sitting up on high who had been shuffling our blue and white chess pieces to magically pull victories out of our you-know-what’s, clearly got tired. He has better things to do now.

So now we’re stuck with two runs in 27 innings against the third-place, albeit pitching-happy, Oakland A’s. Stuck with a fluky five-run outburst in Anaheim yesterday (thanks for serving up the fat ones, Dan Haren) that wasn’t nearly enough. It was like the Angels poked a hibernating bear long enough to get mauled for about ten minutes. Then the bear yawned and went straight back to his lair.

Barely a whisper to be had after the 2nd inning.

Yes, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera seem to be thawing a little bit. But is that enough?

In short…no.

Here’s the real problem: even with an awesome hitting coach in Dave Hansen and a should-be-Hall-of-Fame former player as a manager, our mechanics have – pardon my French – gone to shit.

In the Oakland series, I had the pleasure of watching this puff of smoke that is an offense do it’s best to get one guy 360 feet around a diamond of dirt. I was stationed about 15 rows behind home the first time, down the first base line with a perfect view of our right-handed hitters the second time.

It was not an enjoyable experience.

Ask any former, current, future player what you’re supposed to do with a breaking ball that is curving, sliding or cutting away from you (righty vs. righty, lefty vs. lefty breaking ball situation for all you rookies out there). They will tell you the same thing: weight back, drive it the other way.

Yet for some reason, the majority of the Dodgers lineup over the last week or so have Juan Uribe Syndrome. It’s a fatal disease that causes hitters to try and pull pitches that are physically impossible to pull, resulting in a rash of ground outs, weak pop ups and strikeouts.

Alas, there is a cure! As much as I’d like to tell you the antidote is eliminating Uribe from the Dodger organization, I’d be lying (though it surely wouldn’t hurt to give Juan the boot).

The real solution can be had in going back to the basics – keep those hands back, squish the bug, eye on the ball, and for the love of Matt Kemp! Try to hit the ball up the middle. Success will follow, I promise.

So what if that doesn’t work? Well then I guess we are what we have known we are since this free fall started.

An inconsistent lead off hitter.

Two old, broken down left fielders.

Three back up utility men starting on any given day.

And a first baseman who can catch everything in the field, but hasn’t hit a ball in the gap since the Bush Administration.

When Kemp comes back, this offense obviously improves significantly. When, not if, Ned Colletti pulls the trigger on a deal to bring Kevin Youkilis or Justin Morneau or Carlos Quentin to Los Angeles, the offense improves again.

But until any of that goes down, us Dodgers fans have to suffer through game after game, hoping our pitchers hold the opposing team to one run and that our anemic offense can put two of their own on the board.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.