Dave Roberts and the Dodgers players are tired of questions about facing left-handed pitching. But L.A. did little to mitigate those concerns Tuesday.
The Dodgers were dumbfounded by journeyman Padres starter Clayton Richard in a 4-0 loss. Richard threw eight shutout innings in what was his longest outing since 2013, according to MLB.com.
The only Dodger to record multiple hits was righty second baseman Logan Forsythe, who had two of the team’s five. This came one day after the Dodgers scored 14 runs, with nine coming off right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin.
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) April 5, 2017
Forsythe’s night was encouraging. He was acquired to complement a lefty heavy lineup, and Tuesday fortified the Dodgers’ vision for him. The problem: Everyone else once again disappointed against a lefty.
Los Angeles went 22-24 against southpaws in 2016. While Roberts has suggested last season’s showings weren’t as bad as the numbers suggested, it appeared the exact same Tuesday.
“That was not an aberration last year, and that was not a mirage,” ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said on Buster Olney’s Wednesday podcast. “They struggled. The numbers, every one of them suggests they’re not good against left-handed pitching last year … But they did some things to try to address that, Logan Forsythe being one. Yasmani Grandal spent the winter reworking his right-handed swing; we’ll see how that works out. I think they’re going to be better against lefties, but to say that wasn’t true last year, it really was true and they had better get better this year if they’re going to do what they want to do.”
Roberts decided to roll with Kike Hernandez in center over Joc Pederson. While the move drew the ire of some fans, Pederson’s .178 career average against lefties gave Roberts reason to play Hernandez, hoping to spark the offense. Still, Hernandez and platoon man Franklin Gutierrez combined for one hit.
Kurkjian might be right and the Dodgers will be better against lefties. In fact, it’s probable given the additions. But if the weakness persists, it will affect the Dodgers’ trade deadline plans and the team’s construction moving forward.
In all, it’s the second game of 162. The larger sample size allows for more overreaction, but Los Angeles has plenty of time to improve against left-handers.
The next opportunity won’t come Wednesday, however. Veteran righty Trevor Cahill takes the mound for San Diego. He’ll be opposed by one of the Dodgers’ own lefties, Rich Hill.