Monday, April 28, 2014

Dead spots in the order

The Dodgers are off on Monday as they fly to Minnesota to prepare for a three-game set against the Twins.  Even though the Twins have horrible pitching, their offense has been surprisingly good with the fourth most runs in baseball.  As a result, they're only one game in back of the AL Central leading Tigers.

Lately the Dodgers have been spinning their wheels at the plate for a variety reasons.  Here I'll take a look at three spots in the order that have been holding this team back.  I'll give a stat, and in (parenthesis) I'll list their ranking in the 15-team National League.

#2 - 13 R (7), 42 TB* (5), 12 RBI (3), .229 AVG (13), .294 OBP (11)
* Total Bases
Some of the power has been there thanks for Yasiel Puig, but the overall averages are way too low.  Carl Crawford and Justin Turner have played most there behind Puig and have been awful.  This is exactly why I like Puig in back of Dee Gordon at the top.  Puig can give you an instant big hit, and even if he doesn't, he's not nearly as dead at the plate as Crawford and Turner.

#3 - 14 R (7), 48 TB (8), 10 RBI (12), .260 AVG (11), .336 OBP (9)
This is the spot that has belonged to Hanley Ramirez for nearly every game.  While he hasn't been terrible, he hasn't lit the world on fire like he's capable of.  Then again, he did suffer a thumb injury recently, and whether he wants to admit it or not, it's definitely affected his play.  The result has been a lot of ground balls and not much else.  He should be hitting third, but not if he can barely grip a bat.

#8 - 6 R (14), 23 TB (14), 4 RBI (13), .204 AVG (11), .275 OBP (12)
There have been a variety of players in this spot, led by Tim Federowicz and his blistering .119 average in this spot.  The other two catchers, A.J. Ellis and Drew Butera, are both under .200 as well.  Coming into this season, I thought the Dodgers would use Gordon here, but because of injuries and his hot bat, that hasn't been the case.  Either way, the Dodgers either need to trade for a better hitting catcher, or just pray that Ellis returns healthy and can start to rake.

Spots that have been good are leadoff and cleanup thanks to the success of Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez.  So it's not like everything has been off.

It's probably a good time to remind everyone that the Dodgers have only played 26 of their 162 games this season, so it's not like these three spots listed above will stay low all season.  If you want further proof, then go back to last season around the end of June and look at the next two months.  You'll see how quickly things can turn around when the bats get hot.

But then again, if the bats don't get hot, then the pitching will have to post a whole lot of zeros for this team to get back into the postseason.

No comments: