Dodgers Playing Uninspired Baseball In April
By Scott Andes
To many people’s chagrin, the Dodgers are playing some unbelievably uninspired Baseball in April. This seems like a carbon copy of last year’s horrific start in which the club sunk to last place in the NL West standings in June before going on their historic 42-8 run. Makes me wonder if last year’s run was just a fluke.
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Don’t let the Dodger’s 9-6 record fool you. Five of those nine wins have been against Arizona, who are even crappier than the Dodgers. Their “winning record”, is merely a mirage because of playing many games against Arizona early on. Actually Arizona is the worst team in the league right now. The Dodgers have a 4-6 record against everybody else, and are now a pathetic 1-4 against the Giants.It’s still early, but there is no way I could let the club get away with losing four out of five to the Giants and not ream them for it. Consider this tough love.
Now they’ve lost Hanley Ramirez for an unsepcified amount of time after he was hit in the hand by a pitch in the seventh inning of last night’s 2-1 loss to the Giants. Losing Clayton Kershaw and catcher A.J. Ellis was bad enough, but now losing Hanley could be the final blow. I don’t expect the club to be able to win with Justin Turner playing shortstop.
But it’s not just the injuries. The club had more last year. This year, every single facet of the game has been lackluster for the Dodgers. The starting rotation is injury riddled and rarely pitches more than five innings. The offense is pathetic, the bullpen can’t hold a lead, the defense shoddy, and the base running sloppy. Yup, the Dodgers have sucked at every aspect of the game in 2014.
In contrast, the Giants look like a championship caliber club. Everything they do is gold (It’s disgusting). Their bullpen holds all leads they obtain, their lineup is deeper, they hit with runners in scoring position, and they’re hitting home runs. They get on base, they make all the plays on defense, and they’re aggressive at the plate. If the Dodgers are going to fend them off this year, then they’re going to have to brush up on their fundamentals.
The offense hasn’t been that bad, more like league average. With the pitching staff not up to speed yet, average won’t cut it. The club is batting .252, which ranks them eleventh, but rank 13th in OBP (.319). The club has been leading the league in extra-base hits, and rank at the top in home runs and slugging. Sixth in slugging (.419) and tenth in home runs with 16.
The club is eleventh in runs scored with 65, but here’s where the offensive club is struggling. The Dodgers are hitting just .229 with runners in scoring position, and rank 16th in the MLB. The Giants are batting .283 and rank second. There’s a huge difference why the Dodgers look so awful, and the Giants look like a competitive team. The Dodgers are just not hitting with runners in scoring position.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
But it’s not just the offense. The pitching staff hasn’t been very good. The club ranks sixth in team ERA (3.07), and it’s mostly because of the starters. Despite the injuries, the starting pitching has preformed pretty well. The club ranks seventh in starting pitching ERA with a 2.89 ERA. The bullpen has been what’s killing the Dodgers thus far. The Dodger’s relievers rank 13th in MLB with a 3.34 ERA, have blown four saves in eight chances, and lost four games. In contrast, the Giants have the second best bullpen in Baseball (1.78 ERA).
Defensively the club has been horrid. The Dodgers are the worst defensive club in the major leagues. They are tied for the most errors with 21, and rank near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency, defensive runs saved, and fielding percentage.
The base running has improved, thanks to the efforts of Dee Gordon. The Dodgers lead the majors in stolen bases with 20. However the club is still making a ton of mistakes on the base paths, evidenced by their high Tootblan numbers, and lot’s of pick-offs.
Doesn’t this sound familiar? Pathetic offense, no clutch hitting, shoddy defense, a bullpen that can’t hold leads, and sloppy base running. it’s April of last year all over again. The Dodgers are making too many mistakes in games.
I can’t even blame this on Don Mattingly anymore. He hasn’t done anything outrageous enough for me to get annoyed enough where I can blame him. The players are simply not performing up to capabilities. Although I still don’t like all of this mixing and match-up stuff, it’s too much. I would rather stick with one set lineup, but that’s just me.
The club doesn’t even have as many injuries as last year. This is just a lack of fundamentals and lackluster play. Losing four of five to the Giants is not acceptable. I think the Australia trip and shortened spring training schedule has played a huge role in this as well.
The good news is that it’s stilll very early. We’ve only played about 15 games, and we know what happened last year. Keep the faith Dodger fans, things hopefully will improve. However, if the club gets swept in San Francisco, and then continues to lose once they return home, then I am afraid some changes may need to be made soon, and some bums may need to be purged from the roster. You know who they are.
Until that time, let’s just try to save face, and stay hopeful.