Batpolar: The Dodgers Offense is Frustratingly Fun to Watch


I’ve been taking some time with my daughters and family this summer, but for some reason I can’t spend too long away from fawning and fretting about my favorite team. Like family, the Dodgers are intertwined into my life. Justin Turner hit another homerun? I’m ecstatic! Jimmy Rollins is hitting .211 and the All Star Break is around the corner…I’m sad. The Dodgers win by hitting four homeruns against the Giants. I’m jumping up and down! The Dodgers bullpen blows the game in the ninth inning. I’m sobbing in the corner.


One day they are slugging homerun after homerun out of Dodger Stadium. The next day they are shut out by the Giants three games in a row. Eight innings of zeros in Saturday’s game versus the Giants led up to an offensive explosion on Father’s Day. The Dodgers offense is bipolar, and it’s making me crazy.

While I love watching Joc Pederson hit humongous homeruns and make spectacular plays in center field (hello Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove awards), watching Jimmy Rollins flounder at the plate through half of the season has been increasingly frustrating to be patient with. Just the thought of Corey Seager slotting into the leadoff spot in the lineup and playing shortstop for the Dodgers in the second half makes me giddy with delight. While Rollins is a tried and true veteran, it is time to pass the torch onto the more youthful and impactful player in order to make that late season push.

Don Mattingly may be consistently blamed for this team’s weaknesses, but Donnie Baseball has little choice when having to play the second best choice ar many of the positions. Of course Don would start Hector Olivera or Corey Seager if they were there. Paco Rodriguez, Brandon League and Joel Peralta all seem like better options than Danny Coulombe, Chris Hatcher or Matt West. He has to play the hand that he is dealt, and the front office is the one responsible for the roster construction.

Disclaimer: I still do generally hate bunting, and Mattingly still makes questionable bullpen decisions and lineup configurations.

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They didn’t get that frontline starter this offseason. They traded away the beloved Juan Uribe. The bullpen still is inconsistent and inexperienced. So far the Friedman era has made a lot of changes, but there is still work to be done. The moves they have made thus far have made me lean toward neutral toward their choices as far as the 2015 roster is concerned. I hated the Uribe trade perhaps more for sentimental reasons, but then again Alberto Callaspo is getting more playing time than Uribe ever did this year. I’m still not healed from that trade, but Justin Turner’s incredible Dodger career so far has lessoned the pain of losing Uribe for me just a little.

Apr 13, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly reacts against the Seattle Mariners in an interleague game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I was okay with the Matt Kemp trade. It hurt, but the Dodgers had to get a viable catcher. I feel this trade was perhaps the best that Friedman and Zaidi have made, and I’ve wanted Grandal to get a fair shot before past mistakes curdled his new career with the Dodgers. Yasmani Grandal is perhaps the best Dodger catcher since Russell Martin, and he has been fantastic with the pitchers while blocking the plate a lot better than I expected.

The Brandon McCarthy deal was a big depressing bust. Howie Kendrick has been great, but I still wonder what a speedy Dee Gordon would bring to this lineup sometimes when I’m alone in the dark.

Here we are 70 games in. It is still too early to tell if these moves and future moves (there will be plenty so hold on tight) that this new front office made will translate into pennants or world titles. Watching the Dodgers lose to the Giants a majority of the time as well as the Cardinals is really difficult to watch. It’s an emotionally draining rollercoaster ride we take every season. Sometimes I feel like getting off the ride, but I never do.

There’s a lot to worry about as the Dodgers look for their 40th win on the season and a strong close to the first half. There’s also a lot to celebrate moving toward the All-Star Break. The duality of the 2015 Dodgers is quite intriguing.

Andre Ethier the Veteran and Joc Pederson the Rookie

Offensive Outbursts and Offensive Droughts

Home Dominance and Road Incompetence

Ying and Yang

It would be nice for the Dodgers to go into the All-Star Break still in first place, but they will need to step up their game on the road beginning in the Windy City.

All the rally bananas aside, the Dodgers need to find more consistency in their offense. With a few swift moves, this team could have what it takes to go all the way. Certainly a trade for a consistent starting pitcher and perhaps an injection to the lineup with the call up of Corey Seager and the eventual inclusion of Hector Olivera could be the winning recipe for the Dodgers. Until then, I’ll be here rooting and ranting.

Question of the day:

How many games will Carl Crawford play this year?