Monday, October 14, 2013

A closer look at the Dodgers' abysmal NLCS offense

With the Dodgers down 0-2 to the Cardinals in the NLCS, all of the talk has been about their absolutely atrocious offense, and rightfully so.  Time and time again they've had chances to break through and at least win one of the games, only to fail miserably in big situations.

All in all, the Dodgers were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Game 1, and 0-for-6 in Game 2.  I'm pretty sure that equates to 1-for-16 in two games.  That's just brutal.  Here's a closer look at every situation where they've had a chance with RISP...

Game 1
1st inning: Mark Ellis on 2nd (single), Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging, Yasiel Puig struck out swinging
3rd inning: Carl Crawford on 2nd (double), Ellis grounded out
Crawford on 3rd (double), Ramirez on 2nd (walk), Puig grounded into forceout at home
Ramirez on 3rd (walk), Gonzalez on 2nd (walk), Juan Uribe two-run single to center
Puig on 2nd (fielder's choice), Andre Ethier flew out
6th inning: Uribe on 2nd (single), Zack Greinke flew out
10th inning: Ellis on 3rd (triple), Michael Young flew out (then Ellis thrown out at home by Carlos Beltran)
11th inning: Ethier on 2nd (walk), Nick Punto struck out swinging
12th inning: Crawford on 2nd (single), Young grounded into a double play

Game 2
1st inning: Mark Ellis on 2nd (single and stolen base), Puig struck out swinging
5th inning: A.J. Ellis on 2nd (ground rule double), Punto struck out looking
6th inning: Clayton Kershaw on third (single and error), Crawford on 2nd (single and error), Mark Ellis popped up, Puig struck out swinging, Uribe struck out swinging
7th inning: Punto on 3rd (single and two wild pitches), Young flew out


There's really no positive way at all to spin these numbers.  With the exception of Uribe's two-run single up the middle to take a 2-0 lead in Game 1, everything else has ranged from ugly to pathetic. 

As Matt Kemp sits out and Ramirez missed Game 2 with a sore everything after gritting through 13 innings of Game 1 clearly injured, a lot of the pressure falls on guys like Puig and Gonzalez.  Quite simply, they've been awful.  With RISP, Puig is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and Gonzalez is 0-for-1 with a strikeout, but was also hitless in Game 2.  Neither one of these guys has made any difference whatsoever.  Well, they have for the Cardinals, but I digress.

Ramirez remains a gametime decision for Game 3, so even if he is in the lineup, you can't expect him to automatically bring the power.  Maybe he will, but the guy is obviously in pain, so we have to temper our expectations.  And Kemp isn't walking through that door.

At 0-for-10 with six strikeouts in this series, Puig will still be counted on to get the job done.  He's so lost at the plate right now, pitchers are just throwing everything by him, including fastballs right down the middle.  Being so young with so much power, he's practically spinning himself into the ground when he swings and misses.  There's been no plate discipline at all, something I thought he showed in the NLDS against the Braves.  Not anymore.

It seems like the Dodgers have been destroyed in both games thus far, but the reality is that they've lost by the slimmest of margins.  It's how they've lost that's been so frustrating, as both of their aces put in fantastic efforts that where wasted away.  A hit here and a play there, this could very well by 2-0 Dodgers.  But it's not, and the reality is that they need to win four of the next five, with three of those games coming at home.

As A.J. Ellis stated, the Cardinals beat their aces, now it's time to beat theirs in Adam Wainwright Monday night.  Maybe that'll be the thing that jumpstarts this sorry offense into making a series of this thing.  If not, then good luck to the Cardinals in the World Series.

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