Dodgers: Do the Boys in Blue Have Any Weakness?
Our biggest issue last season was undeniably our inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Part of the problem was that the Dodgers failed to find a leadoff hitter who could consistently get on base.
The second part of the problem, once runners did get on: the hitters (typically the 3, 4, 5, and 6 hitters) responsible for bringing them in, didn’t.
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Along with the weaknesses in pitching the issue with hitting with runners in scoring position also perpetuated itself, however in the lineup’s case, it was from the top-down.
The more at-bats hitters see with men on, the more it familiarizes hitters with bringing them in.
Therefore, they’re naturally more comfortable with what’s asked of them: bringing the runners in. How many different leadoff men did Roberts try last season? A.J. Pollock immediately addresses that problem, preventing the same calamity from happening in 2019.
As was the case with the missing setup man, once the void has been filled, guys like Joc Pederson, David Freese, Austin Barnes, Chris Taylor, and Cody Bellinger, just to name a few, can focus on what their initial jobs were to begin with.
Anytime a weight like that is lifted, players instantaneously feel exponentially more comfortable. When players feel more comfortable, their production goes up.
Lastly, the Dodgers failed to find the right hitter in the 2-hole as well. Corey Seager is one of the best hitters at the 2 throughout baseball and he’s an on-base machine.
Once those guys at the 3, 4, 5, and 6 start seeing more runners on, and more consistently, they won’t press as much to bring them in.
A hitter’s worst nightmare is pressing; they make mistakes before they’re even in the box by trying to score 8 runs with a guy on second base. Baseball doesn’t work that way.
Of course hitters in the middle of the lineup are expected to bring runners in as well, however, top of the order guys are expected to get on base.
When half of the lineup isn’t contributing the other half feels pressured. Frustration builds easily because they’re expected to deliver in undeliverable circumstances.
I agree with Friedman’s claim that the current Dodgers’ roster has no weak spots. In fact, of the two-three outwardly obvious weaknesses we had last season, all have been addressed.
In that regard and on paper, there aren’t any weaknesses left for the front office to prepare for that haven’t already been addressed.
Due to this and Friedman’s ability to make adjustments throughout the regular season when bad stuff happens, I think the Dodgers should prepare themselves for the World Series yet again.