Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dodgers keep trudging through offensive struggles

Friday night was the latest in a line of poor offensive outputs, as the Dodgers managed only two runs at home against Andrew Cashner and the Padres.

Fortunately for them, Zack Greinke, Chris Hatcher, and Kenley Jansen were even better, as they pitched the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory.

It was a much-needed win, as the Dodgers have had one hell of a time getting anything going lately.  This game was no different, as they managed only six hits, going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  That "one" was a fifth inning RBI double down the right field line for Andre Ethier, snapping the Dodgers 35-inning scoreless streak.

35 painful innings, mercifully down the drain.

Greinke had it going until the seventh when Derek Norris hit a ground rule double to left, and scored on Will Venable's soft single into center.  Joc Pederson did a great job trying to nail Norris at home, but he was called safe, and held up on replay.  It was a very close call, and even though Norris's lead leg did not make contact with the plate, I thought it was still the right call.

At 1-1 in the eighth, the Dodgers were looking for a spark... ANY sort of spark.  Leave it to Mr. "Swing Hard or Don't Swing at All" Pederson to do just that.  He absolutely creamed an 0-2 fastball from Joaquin Benoit that caught way too much of the plate into center for a 430-foot solo homer.

Kenley Jansen didn't need many pitches, 12 in total, to set down the side in order for his second save.

It's not like the Dodgers busted out the big sticks and put all of their frustrations behind them, as they were a lot more bad than good on Friday.  But, the positive way of looking at this game is that Pederson stepped up when his team needed him the most, and that can hopefully be the baby step that gets them going.

Speaking of Pederson, I did like the small adjustments he seemed to be making, as he went the other way in his first couple of at-bats.  That's smart hitting, especially for a slumping guy hitting leadoff on a slumping team.  When his team needed a big fly, that's when he went back to his all-or-nothing approach.  It worked.

Now his team needs to get more guys in on the act, but it won't be easy.  Yasmani Grandal had to exit after the fourth with concussion-like symptoms.  He took the back end of a swing a couple of innings before, and though he tried to stick it out, was soon sent home.  A.J. Ellis took over from there, and needless to say, that's not exactly an offensive upgrade.

Maybe this weekend will see guys like Adrian Gonzalez or Howie Kendrick go 5-for-5 with two homers.  Or maybe they just add a couple of RBIs here or there.  Whatever it takes to get different guys in the order going, I'm all for it. 

And maybe that will lead to a sweep of the Padres, taking some of the sting away from getting crushed by the Giants.

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