Monday, June 2, 2014

Dodgers still searching for offensive consistency

What's the best way to follow up a season high, 12-run explosion?

Apparently by not coming anywhere close to doing it again the next night.

That was the story of the Dodgers on Sunday night, as they were held to a three runs in a 5-3 loss to the Pirates.  That handed the Bucs three of four in Dodger Stadium, a place where the Dodgers don't seem to like playing at a whole lot with a 12-17 record.

Zack Greinke was not his normal self, scuffling through six innings of four-run ball.  Andrew McCutchen just owned him with a long double and an even longer 435-foot solo homer.

Despite all of that, the biggest culprit, once again, was the sorry offense.  Not even the sight of washed up Edinson Volquez could make them put more runs on the board.

Let's take a look at this four-game set.  First we'll toss away Saturday's outburst.  The other three games (all loses), saw them score 3, 1, and 3 runs.  That's about 2.3 runs a game, which makes it hard to beat anyone, even with the great starting pitching.

If you're looking for positive signs from the offense, it's that they somehow scored 139 runs in May, good for third in baseball.  The problem is that their runs have come at a pretty uneven rate.  Take a look at the last week in May (25-31).  They scored 6, 4, 6, 3, 3, 1, and 12 runs.  And then yesterday it was back down to 3 runs.  It seems like the second they start showing consistency, they then trend the opposite way.

Obviously, it will be hard to win if some of the big guns don't contribute.  I've covered this ad nauseam, but here I go again.  One day after Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Matt Kemp combined to go 9-for-12 with 8 RBIs, they go 1-for-10 with no RBIs.  Lo and behold, one day is an easy win, the next day a close loss.

Right now the Dodgers' offense looks like Yasiel Puig and a bunch of other guys not pulling their weight.  Here's my evidence to back that up, looking at Puig and the three others I just mentioned in the month of May:

Puig: .398, 8 HR, 25 RBI
Kemp: .266, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Ramirez: .255, 6 HR, 21 RBI
Gonzalez: .231, 4 HR, 13 RBI

About the only positives, other than Puig, are the high power totals from Hanley, and some decent pop from A-Gon.  Kemp... well he hasn't done a damn thing, other than bury a hole for himself deeper and deeper each plate appearance.

One other guy who's cooled off, maybe a bit under the radar, has been Dee Gordon.  He was awesome in April by hitting .333, but that went way down in May to .244.  In fact, he's only had one multi-hit game in his last 19.  That's not exactly getting it done from the leadoff spot.

What Don Mattingly has to hope will happen is a couple of things.  One, that Puig will continue to lead the way with his bat and not cool down drastically.  Even if he slows down a little, he's still having a great year.  Two, that the other four guys I mentioned just plain get more hits.  Turning it on and off one game to the next gets them to right about where they are, hovering around .500.

With the starting rotation finally healthy, it's time the offense backs them up some.  Getting more guys on base will only help.

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