The problem with LA Dodgers’ offense is oddly deeper than fans realize

Thomas Carannante
CHICAGO - JUNE 09: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on against the Chicago White Sox on June 9, 2022 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - JUNE 09: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on against the Chicago White Sox on June 9, 2022 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers have dropped nine of their last 13, scoring 47 runs in those contests (with one 11-run barrage against the White Sox remaining an outlier). Even with that, LA averaged 3.61 runs per game over that span, which is far off from their league-leading average of 5.15.

At times, the Dodgers lineup looks like it can’t be stopped. Then they lose five out of six against the Pirates and score four runs in three games against the Giants, leaving fans to wonder, “What the f–k?!”.

But have no fear, folks! The problem is fairly evident now that some deeper digging has been done. The surface-level numbers and even many advanced splits still favor the Dodgers, especially when you look at bigger-picture league rankings.

Diving through their Baseball Reference page, however, reveals one (well, two) stark issues that manager Dave Roberts needs to fix.

Let’s go through what the Dodgers are good at, shall we? There’s a lot to like here, especially when you’re looking to project performance as the season progresses:

  • 1st in Runs Per Game (5.15)
  • 2nd in Runs Scored (309)
  • 2nd in OBP (.330)
  • 3rd in OPS (.751)
  • 6th in Stolen Bases (38)
  • 11th in Average (.249)
  • .271/.364/.440 slash line with RISP
  • .244/.341/.431 slash line with RISP and 2 outs
  • .293/.380/.442 slash line in High-Leverage Situations

The Dodgers’ offense is dominant … but very frustrating

OK! So what “needs to be done”? Dodgers fans have a tendency to act like the sky is falling whenever there’s a stretch of more than one game that features ineptitude. Sorry to break it to you, but in a 162-game season, you’re going to endure more frustrating droughts than expected, even with a lineup as good as LA’s.

In analyzing these splits, the problem may be revealed. Either Roberts has to tinker with a specific area of his lineup cards or the Dodgers need a better sense of urgency when the stakes aren’t as high:

  • .226/.304/.395 slash line in Low-Leverage Situations
  • .194/.324/.392 slash line from cleanup hitters
  • .196/.292/.276 slash line from No. 5 hitters
  • .212/.295/.387 slash line from No. 6 hitters

The Dodgers aren’t cashing in when the pressure is the least, and the heart of their lineup has been TERRIBLE. You’re probably wondering about hitters 7-9, though, right?

  • .261/.306/.478 slash line from No. 7 hitters
  • .256/.343/.420 slash line from No. 8 hitters
  • .266/.348/.404 slash line from No. 9 hitters

The most productive bats in the lineup book-end the worst bats in the lineup, which probably isn’t the best philosophy if you’re looking to avoid cutting the head off the offense or at least maintain some consistency throughout.

So who are the main culprits here? Hate to point fingers, but it’s Max Muncy (43 total games between the 4-6 spots), Justin Turner (54 total games between the 4-6 spots), and, somehow, WILL SMITH (44 games between the 4-6 spots, but has famously hit .139 with a .699 OPS in 25 starts at cleanup). Never thought those words would be typed together.

When attempting to diagnose the issues with the Dodgers, these three statistics reign supreme, and it’ll be up to everybody’s favorite manager (just kidding!) Dave Roberts to sort it out. You’d think the front office would’ve stepped in by now, right? Usually they’re the good ones with numbers…

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