Dodgers: Early Season Struggles With Runners In Scoring Position

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Apr 6, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) is greeted in the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the San Diego Padres in the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) is greeted in the dugout after hitting a two run home run against the San Diego Padres in the second inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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After Satruday’s game vs. the Diamonbacks, the Dodgers are currently tied for second in the National League West with a record of 7-5. This is a bit of a surprise given that they hold a major league-best run differential of +25. However, the team’s offense has struggled to find consistency, especially when it comes to batting with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers’ run totals from all of their games this season are as followed: 14, 0, 3, 10, 1, 2, 10, 2, 2, 0, 7, and 8. As you can see, it has been feast or famine for this Dodgers’ lineup and it stems directly from their struggles to get hits and knock in runs with runners in scoring position (RISP).

According to Baseball Reference, the Dodgers as a team, before Saturday’s game, were batting a meager .225 with 3 home runs and 30 RBIs with RISP. To make matters worse, some players, such as Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez, were actually producing.

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The three players were a combined 12-31 (.387) with 15 RBI’s and only five strikeouts with RISP. Those are great numbers and are expected from the Dodgers’ best hitters. However, it takes a team to win games and not just individual players. This is where the Dodgers are currently struggling. The three players currently slumping the most with RISP are Yasiel Puig, Logan Forsythe, and Yasmani Grandal.

The three were a combined 3-23 (.130) with 3 RBI’s and ten strikeouts with RISP before the second game against Arizona. This has led to Los Angeles being one of the worst in the league when it comes to capitalizing on a scoring opportunity. If the Dodgers are going to go anywhere this season, they are going to need for these three players to start producing with RISP. Manager Dave Roberts is counting on them to drive in runs when he pencils them into the heart of the lineup.

To be fair, 11 games is a rather small sample size to draw statistics from, but it is an early trend that hopefully goes away as the season progresses. Not to give any of these players a pass, but Puig has looked much better at the plate this season compared to seasons past, Yasmani is notorious for getting off to a slow start, and Forsythe has spent the last three seasons playing in the American League, so he is just getting to know the National League pitchers.

This trend is something the Dodgers hope to nip in the bud sooner rather than later. If they are able to find more success with RISP, they will have a more consistent offense on a day-to-day basis, which will translate to more wins.

Next: Why Letting Zack Greinke Go Was the Wrong Move

Overall, I am not overly worried about the early season struggles with RISP. Over a 162 game season, the experience and depth of the Dodgers’ lineup will even these numbers out. I will even go so far to predict that the Dodgers will finish the season top-5 in runs scored in the National League and top-5 in run differential in the entire MLB.

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