Although the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup boasts superstar-level players up and down the lineup, their offense has been inconsistent throughout much of the 2021 regular season.
Some of their slumps have been due to injuries, however, since Aug. 1, which is right around when the team started to get healthy, their offense ranks 16th of the 30 clubs with 145 runs scored backed by a meager .232/.315/.418 batting line and 100 wRC+.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted part of the problem is the team hasn’t consistently worked as a cohesive unit in their approach at the plate, but he did credit Corey Seager and Will Smith for producing quality plate appearances.
“We’ve done it at times,” Roberts said when asked if the lineup is consistently passing the baton. “I think recently Corey Seager has done it the best in taking walks and staying in the strike zone. At times Will Smith does a fantastic job of that.
“That’s part of it, and I also think part of it is downshifting and shortening up to move the ball forward. I think to strike when you need to drive in a run, hasn’t been the case. If you can continue to stress guys and get guys on base, the last part of it is you have to finish the inning.”
Roberts went on to explain why failing to pass the baton causes the offense to be inconsistent as players chase pitches to try to make something happen instead of taking their walks and letting the next batter get the job done.
“I think that’s where you get into the situation where you don’t and guys want to do it themselves,” he said. “That gets to be dangerous when you start trying to create offense yourself and expand. We’ve got to trust the process as far as collective offense.
“Take good at-bats, if they’re not going to throw strikes then take your base and trust the next guy behind you can do the job. When you can do that, that’s how it works more fluidly.”
Since Seager’s activation on July 30, he is second on the team in on-base percentage at .390, and wRC+ at 141. The only player ahead of him in both categories is Smith, who has a .405 OBP and 157 wRC+.
During that same time frame, both players are also walking at a double-digit rate with Seager at 12.5% and Smith at 15.3%, which is one of the biggest parts of the passing the baton concept.
Dodgers’ struggles continue despite improved results
Although the Dodgers scored five runs on Monday, they had just one hit after the first inning and the final 19 batters were retired in order.
“It was good to score five runs, certainly a positive. But eight innings, to score one run, isn’t good enough for our club,” Roberts said after the 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
“And our guys understand that. It took an error by the catcher to get Mookie in scoring position and a two-out hit by Corey to get that fifth run, so your point is heard and it’s right. For us to play championship-caliber baseball like we’re capable of doing, it’s got to be better.
“It absolutely does.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and more!