As mentioned, the Dodgers have used 90 different lineups this year, and most of the time they have had great success. Over the last 13 games, there hasn’t been that same confidence when the Dodgers are hitting but that can all change with one good offensive inning.
Bill Plaschke of the LA Times wrote an article Thursday night going over many of the same things I talked about here. One part stood out to me, “But somewhere along the line, the players have begun acting like it really is spring training, swinging for the fences and fielding with their heads in the stands.”
Although this is in part right, when have the Dodgers not swung for the fences this year and why is that a problem? The Dodgers have hit 191 home runs this year and were on pace to crush the club’s record for a season of 211; they still might.
During this 13 game slide, the team has hit eight home runs and has had an OPS of .567.
In July, they had 35 home runs in 23 games. In June, 53 in 28 games, a franchise record for a month and an average of 1.9 dingers a game. They had 34 bombs in 28 games in May.
What I’m getting at is that home runs aren’t the problem and swinging to produce them certainly isn’t either (We could get into the fly-ball hitter discussion here, but we’ll save it for another time).
The issue during this losing period has been the support and health that the hitters had enjoyed all year.
All of the Dodgers’ most used lineups have one thing in common, a top half of the order that includes Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger, all with more than 18 home runs this year. Coincidence that both Seager and Belly have both been out of the lineup for a majority of this streak? No shot.
Those two guys are the most important pieces in this lineup and their ability to put together quality at-bats at such a high rate and come through in the biggest moments aren’t replaceable. They are better together as well, protecting one another and forcing pitchers into situations where they have to throw strikes.
They don’t just make each other better; it’s the whole team that benefits from this. Their presence allows for other hitters to get better pitches to hit. Especially Justin Turner; no shocker he’s having a career year hitting between these two.
Taylor is just as important here too and has really been the only Dodger to continue to put together quality at-bats. He’s hitting .308 in September. There hasn’t been a better lead off hitter in baseball, and they will need that going forward.
Hitters slump, teams slump, it’s a part of the game. As infuriating as it is for fans to have this happen at this point in the year, the pressure and anger for the players are twice as great as anything a fan could ever go through.
They want to break out just as bad as we want them too and I feel like they will.
Corey Seager came back last night, Belly is back, and Roberts has said that the guys who will be on the field come October will start to get more and more of the at-bats now.
They will get back to mashing; they’re too deep not too.