Saturday, April 26, 2014

Beckett burned by his offense again

Josh Beckett can be equally encouraged by his pitching as he is frustrated by his offense.  After pitching eight innings of two-run ball and coming away with his fourth no-decision, he probably wonders if he'll ever get that elusive first win.

The wait continues for Beckett, as he exited with the scored tied at two.  He has not won a game since September 30, 2012.  That's right, 2012, meaning two seasons ago.  The good news is that take away a couple of solo homers on pitches up in the zone, and he was flawless on Friday.  He threw 99 pitches and struck out six to lower is ERA from 2.57 to 2.45.  Good for him.

By the way, did the Dodgers win?  Nope.  The offense blew too many chances again, and a three-run 11th inning was just enough for the Rockies to win 5-4.  A two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the 11th was too little, too late.

A week ago on Saturday, the Dodgers put up eight runs in beating the Diamondbacks 8-6.  Ever since then, they've gone 2-4 with a total of 15 runs scored.  Some quick math tells me that's 2.5 runs per game.  It's not too surprising they haven't won much since last weekend.

Right now, the Dodgers can be summed up like this: fantastic starting pitching, an offense that can't get a big lead, a bullpen that can't put up a bunch of blanks when needed, and a defense that is below average.  That's why they're slowly approaching the .500 mark at 13-11.

In looking at team numbers, they're hitting .241, and .236 with runners in scoring position.  Those are both below the National League average, which isn't surprising.  They've also struck out the fifth most times in baseball at 215, obviously way too much.  There's a lot of whiffs going on from both sides, as their pitching staff is second in baseball at 222.

Sum it all up, and the Dodgers have got to wake up at the plate.  Every night it seems like they're scratching and clawing to get the win, which takes its toll on everyone.  Without big numbers from guys like Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp, the offense is pretty stale.  We can only hope those guys are healthy like they say, so we'll see if they start to mash.

Other thoughts from the game:

* Yasiel Puig hit in the #2 spot, which I love, and responded with a solo homer and RBI single.  He did have a chance to win it in the 10th with Andre Ethier on second, but grounded out.  Still, his swing looked good.

* Kemp got tossed by good old Angel Hernandez in the ninth on a bad strike three call.  Kemp was right in arguing, and I actually didn't mind at all him get ejected.  He needs more fire in his game, as his .200 average is stinking up the lineup right now.

* Like I said above, the bullpen isn't going to put up zero after zero right now.  That's not necessarily a criticism, as it's not their fault the offense can't score runs.  Still, the two guys who gave up three runs in the 11th, Jamey Wright and J.P. Howell, were ones who had good numbers coming in.  Didn't go their way in this one.

* Carl Crawford got bumped down to sixth in the order, and it didn't matter.  He went 0-for-4, and the ball has no life off of his bat.  It's either a lazy fly ball, or a ground out to second.  Stop playing him so much!

* Hang in there, Mr. Beckett.  Better days are ahead.  It's great to see him pitching deep and effectively.

As Clayton Kershaw nears his return following a successful rehab start, Paul Maholm gets another chance to show what he has with his fourth start.  The Phillies had their way against him last start, so let's see how he adjusts.

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