Saturday, July 19, 2014

All-Star break does nothing to wake up putrid offense

So much for being fresh and rejuvenated after taking four days off.

The Dodgers brought more of the same on offense to the table Friday night... which is basically saying, they did a big pile of NOTHING.  A two-run homer by Matt Holliday in the fifth proved to be the difference, as the Dodgers fell to the Cardinals 3-2.

The formula remained the same from a handful of games before the break against the Tigers and Padres: good-excellent starting pitching, horrible hitting.

How bad has the offense been?  Here's a look at the last six games:

7/9 at Tigers: 4-for-30 (.133), 1 R, 0-for-5 w/ RISP, 4 LOB
7/10 vs. Padres: 9-for-31 (.290), 2 R, 2-for-13 w/ RISP, 7 LOB
7/11 vs. Padres: 6-for-31 (.194), 3 R, 2-for-9 w/ RISP, 9 LOB
7/12 vs. Padres: 4-for-26 (.154), 1 R, 0-for-5 w/ RISP, 7 LOB
7/13 vs. Padres: 7-for-29 (.241), 1 R, 2-for-12 w/ RISP, 7 LOB
7/18 at Cardinals: 5-for-32 (.156), 2 R, 1-for-8 w/ RISP, 8 LOB

Totals: 35-for-179 (.196), 10 R, 7-for-52 w/ RISP (.135), 42 LOB

Wow, that's bad.  Really bad.  What's even worse is that Dodger pitching has given up only 13 runs during that six-game span, which is a mere 2.2 runs/game.  Doesn't matter, though.  When you can't hit, you can only survive for so long, and that's why they're 3-3 in these games.

The "controversy" coming into last night's game was all about the recent comments from Matt Kemp and his willingness to be traded if he's not going to play everyday in center.  Well, Matt, I can tell you that after watching how did you last night, you have absolutely NOTHING to complain about.

Kemp went 0-for-3 at the plate with a strikeout and walk, including a big fat K to end the third with the bases loaded.  It was typical - talk a big game, but when they chance came to prove how good you think you are, you go down miserably.

Then there's his defense, which continues to be a bigger and bigger joke each game.  I watched the game on MLB Network with Bob Costas and Tom Verducci (who did a very good job, by the way).  During one of the breaks between innings, they cut back to the studio where I believe Darryl Hamilton gave a demonstration of just how bad Kemp has been taking angles to fly balls.  Twice he was burned by the awkward routes he takes to the ball.

Ya, and he wants to play center again.  Give me a freakin' break.

Kemp wasn't the only problem.  Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Andre Ethier all had big strikeouts in key situations.  It's almost as if you expect the worst in big spots, and then it happens. 

A.J. Ellis was about the only one who showed up, as his RBI double and then hustle from third to score on a wild pitch in the seventh cut the deficit to 3-2.  That's as close as it would get.  I'm glad he did something, because I can't recall the last time he made any noise at the plate considering he's hitting .215.

Other thoughts from the game:

* Dan Haren didn't look so hot in the first, rebounded a bit, but couldn't overcome Holliday's homer.  He only lasted 4 2/3 innings for eight hits, three runs, two walks, and four strikeouts.  He's clearly the odd man out at this point if Ned Colletti brings in another starter.  I don't see any hitters being fearful of him.

* Good to see Paco Rodriguez make his return, as he pitched a scoreless seventh.  He certainly couldn't do any worse than he did to start the season, so maybe some time down on the farm got him refocused.  J.P Howell is the only other lefty in the 'pen (I don't even count Paul Maholm, who's terrible), so Paco will definitely be used if they keep him with the big club.

* A-Gon actually went opposite field for a hit, something that a graphic on the MLB Network broadcast showed he's been doing a lot less of.  I just don't understand why?  Maybe it's something physical with his swing?  I don't know, but it was great to see him go the other way.  Considering how often he strikes out now, it's something he should try to keep doing, especially against those damn shifts.

* On a final note, if you ever want a good laugh during a frustrating Dodger performance, just go to Twitter.  I had some good conversations with a couple of fellow fans, and let me tell you, I was laughing so hard at some of their comments!  We could definitely feel each other's pain.

Two of the All-Star Game standouts in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw take the hill this weekend.  You know they'll do their thing.  Will the offense contine to do theirs?  If so, look for more 2-1, 1-0 games.  Gee, I can just imagine the excitement...

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