Top Ten Excuses For The Dodger’s Poor Offense
By Scott Andes
The apologists are in full force again this season on twitter. Every season their contingent grows and grows. They get louder with each frustrating loss, seemingly unable to admit to reality. The Dodgers are certainly a good squad this year, but nowhere near great. There is a fine line between a great club and a good club. The Dodgers are good, and I have never said that they’re bad.
The Boys in Blue are currently sitting in first place (albeit barely) by one game over the Giants in the National League West. They have a 43-34 record. They got off to a great start to the season going 22-10, but have since faded playing mediocre Baseball at best. Things looked especially bleak when they lost four out of five on the last home stand (to the Rangers and Giants) and then lost the first two games of the four game series with Chicago. Since then they’ve rebounded nicely to win four of their last five games. So yes they’re pretty a pretty good team. The Dodgers are certainly a playoff club, and there is little doubt to that.
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However being a playoff contender and being a World Series contender are two different things entirely. One of the reasons the Dodgers are not a World Series contender this season is their poor one dimensional offense. The club ranks 16 in batting (.254) and 12 in runs (324) scored. The Dodgers do lead the majors in home runs (97) and walks (275), but are last in base running, stolen bases, and rank 17 in hits. The club has no speed in their lineup, no lead-off hitter, and they don’t seem to be able to string together hits. The Dodgers only score when they hit home runs. It’s the typical sabermetric approach to offense, I.E. home runs and walks. That’s all the Dodgers are capable of doing offensively. They hit home runs and draw walks, and nothing more.
That’s fine except when you get into September and October that becomes a difficult strategy to maintain. You’re facing tougher pitching and runs are harder to come by. Now I’m not all doom and gloom. They have very good pitching and defense. The pitching staff is one of the best in Baseball, even with Clayton Kershaw not having a dominant season. The bullpen has been pretty good as well. Kenley Jansen has been flawless since returning from foot surgery. Pedro Baez is key to creating that bridge to getting the ball to Kenley. As long as everyone stays healthy, then the relief corps can be counted on.
But the offense is pathetic. There is no doubt about that. The Dodger’s offense has scored two runs or less in 25 games since May 1. If you count the six times they did that in April, that means the Dodgers have scored two runs or less in 31 of their 77 games this season. That is pitiful. It’s a huge reason why they’ve been struggling to win consistently. They’re just not scoring enough runs to win games.
Call to the Pen
According to the apologists the Dodgers have a great and well balanced lineup. It seems more like a well balanced lineup of outs to me. They put on their blinders and make excuses for lousy hitting. There are a ton of them. Some of the excuses are incredibly humorous. Let’s take a look at them and have ourselves some brevity. Here are the top ten excuses for the Dodger’s poor offense.
- They’re just slumping!
This is a huge excuse I hear constantly. It’s just a slump, the apologists say. Even though the Dodgers Can’t seem to score consistently without the long ball this year. But the apologists will insist that it is a slump. The days tick off the calendar and the routine outs and ohfers pile up every day. We’re up to 25 games of two runs or less since May 1. I am not sure how slumps work exactly, but can the whole team slump for an entire season? At what point does a slump turn into just plain sucking? After almost 60 games of not hitting, it ceases to be a slump. They’re not slumping, the offense just stinks.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
- Blame Don Mattingly!
This is a common excuse this season. I’ve been bemoaning Mattingly’s poor in game choices for years. Every time I did though, people would give me the same response. They told me that it wasn’t Mattingly’s fault because Ned Colletti built the roster. Poor Donnie Baseball was hamstrung by Colletti’s lackluster rosters. So don’t blame it on Donnie! Everyone screamed at me. Now Colletti is no longer the GM, so of course that means it’s fair game to pile it onto Mattingly. Now everyone is screaming for Mattingly to get canned. He’s terrible! They yell. He won’t play Alex Guerrero! Or he’s not playing Justin Turner enough! Or why won’t he bunt more? Why won’t he do this? So I will say to the apologists what everyone said to me the last several years. Mattingly didn’t build the roster. Andrew Friedman/Farhan Zaidi did. Interesting twist when you can’t blame Ned anymore isn’t it?
- Blame the injuries!
This is another common one. They’ve been hurt, the apologists say. Well every club has injuries. Look at the Giants and Cardinals. They have a ton of injuries and yet still score runs. Yes Yasiel Puig has hardly played this year, and Carl Crawford has suffered his yearly quad/hamstring/calf/back/neck/shoulder/elbow/oblique/hip injury. Yes the club has had a lot of injuries this year, but it’s still not an excuse. Especially when we’re constantly told how terrific the depth is on the club. You mean Chris Heisey is not good depth????!!! What?
- It’s a long season
This one is an oldie but goodie. The season is long says the apologists. Meaning that the Dodgers will eventually come around and start to hit and everything will even out. Just forget about the first 75 games where they couldn’t score if they put home plates in front of their houses. Forget it! They’ll start to hit in late August. The apologists say. They’ll hit in their last 30 games. That should make up for it.
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- It’s just poor luck!
This is the one that really annoys me. It’s just bad luck the apologists say. They insist that it’s not lack of talent, or poor plate approaches. No no no, just bad luck. They’ll quote their BABIP and nod their heads. Of course it’s poor luck. It can’t be lack of speed or ability. Just luck. Poor luck for 75 games worth of outs.
- They’re doing great!
Some of the apologists will choose to ignore reality completely, and refuse to acknowledge the ohfers. They’re doing just fine they say. They’re living in an alternate reality.
- They’re tired!
Now this is one that could hold some truth. The Dodgers have had a brutal scheduled the last few weeks. However they haven’t hit much at all pretty much the whole season. At least this one is sensible.
- They’re facing good pitching!
Yes we know they’re facing good pitching. All of the pitchers are good at the major league level. Most of them anyways. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be in the major leagues. At some point you have to beat good pitching. You have to be able to hit good pitchers. What do you think is going to happen in the playoffs? There’s nothing but the best pitching once you get to October.
- You have no faith!
This isn’t an excuse, more like a lashing out. The apologists are frustrated by the lousy offense. Instead of accepting the bad hitting, they turn on other Dodger fans. Calling them out for merely living in reality and recognizing an area the club needs to improve upon. Hey don’t get mad at me. I am not the one striking out and grounding out to first. The Dodgers are doing that.
- Play Alex Guerrero More!
I understand this one. Guerrero is a good hitter. Finding a place for him in the lineup would definitely strengthen the Dodger hitting. Although I am not sure how one man can solve all of the Dodger’s offensive woes? The offensive issues run deeper than just not playing Guerrero.
It’s important to remember that you can still love and root for the club at the same time recognizing an area the club struggles in. The Dodgers are a good club. However they are a very flawed club, perhaps just as flawed as they were last season. As a matter of fact they had more offensive talent, speed and flexibility in 2014 than they do this year.
The 2015 Dodgers have excellent pitching and defense, but poor hitting and base running. I think the Dodgers desperately need a true lead-off hitter and some speed in the lineup. They need to be able to manufacture runs when they are unable to hit home runs. They have to stop playing station to station Baseball. Waiting for three run home runs is not a great offensive strategy. If the club doesn’t figure out a way to score runs then they won’t get very far in October.
Pointing out the club’s weakness doesn’t make you any less of a fan, or mean you love the club any less than any of the apologists. Everyone roots and follows the club in their own way. The Dodger’s offense has been poor this year, and nobody needs to apologize for pointing it out.