Dodgers: Errors and Defensive Miscues Continue in Los Angeles Loss

“See the ball, catch the ball.”

By record, the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. Heading into Sunday’s game, the team lead the Majors in victories with 69, and in winning percentage at .651. They also had lead the Majors in runs allowed at 405, and their +164 run differential remains tops in baseball.

However, stats are one side of the story. The team seems to have hit a point where some fundamentals on the defensive side have been lacking.

While the Dodgers were charged with only 1 team error in an 11-4 loss to Washington, the Nationals took advantage of sloppy play and put the game out of reach for Los Angeles.

Manager Dave Roberts spoke on the situation.

It’s something that shouldn’t slump. We are not playing consistent defense. When you don’t make plays, it adds to pitch counts and things like that. It really changes the dynamic of a game.

I know the preparation is there, and we just have to get better. It’s pretty simple.

The team wasn’t beat by errors, but they weren’t helped by lazy defense, and by questionable decisions. Alex Verdugo cost the team a run by hesitating to throw the ball in, and Joc Pederson’s struggles at first base continued. While he has been charged with only 5 errors in 19 games at his new position, his presence there seems to be affecting the defense as a whole.

You read that tweet right, 38 team errors in the 32 games since Pederson’s first appearance at first base. Now this isn’t meant to exclusively put the onus on Joc as the reason for the poor team play, but he cannot be overlooked as a key contributor.

Much respect to the guy for trying to help his team by adding versatility to his game, but it’s hit a point where he’s doing more harm than good.

Final analysis

While Dodgers Nation will be providing a more deep dive on this topic later, the infield defense appears to be focused on trying to throw strikes to a still-learning Pederson instead of making baseball-instinct plays to record outs. Our Tim Rogers echoed this sentiment:

What gets missed about Joc at first is that everyone else on the infield has to worry more about their throws.

Tim also points out something blindingly obvious, Joc is trying a mid-season position change that is best suited for off-season work. And it’s hurting the team.

Joc Pederson is fine player (at times), but he is not a Major League first baseman.

End the experiment.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.


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  1. I’m writing to you and because I feel your a real Dodger Fan I was born a Dodger fan born in 1964 seen the good days and bad I’m 55 yrs old and tired of the same 1988 WS intro We have to win this year for the Number one fan base here in the US and all overthrew countries I see Dodger hats and T-shirts We need to beat the American League plain and simple Every game or important one we’re powerless playing like we forgot how to We need to obviously obtain better pitching and Hunny sucks he sucked as a player as well start with him and we will be successful

  2. Great article. We have the luxury of getting Joc some first base exposure during the season; but yep, it is time to wind it down. We need to get things settled. August is upon us. Need Max, David, or Cody playing first. Put Joc back into left. Alex can bounce around the outfield. Sure, Joc’s playing time may suffer a tad; but now is big picture time. New catcher, Verdugo is still a rookie. We need the infielders to have sharp,quick throws to first. Quick reactions to the guy next to them. Intuitive responses around the infield. No cheating towards first to help Joc. Taylor will soon be back. With Justin, Corey, Kike/Taylor, Max/Cody/David, we have an extremely solid defense. Defense wins ballgames. Errors,second guesses do not.

  3. And something else to add to this, and that is Joc is not performing offensively enough right now to warrant him doing ‘on the job’ training at 1st. Time to move on and although he has 23 HR’s, he is strictly a platoon player because he cannot handle LHP. If Dodgers do not shore up the defense and the BP the lead in Division will shrink very fast. This defense, such as today and the BP as it is, WILL NOT last throuigh even the 1st round of playoffs. Fact!

  4. The Joc experiment at 1st needs to end now. He is a duck out of water there and it’s obvious to everyone including himself. This isn’t little league, it’s MLB.

  5. Again our pathetic manager screws the pooch with his experiments. Baseball is a team effort and when 1 player plays below mlb stanards the rest of the team suffers. He did it last year playing Granderson and now playing Pederson at 1st. Do not care how many HRs or walks he has his average hurts the whole team as does his terrible defense at 1st. He has had his chances and the Dodgers should move on from him. Put him in a trade package and get some BP help. DO NOT put him back in LF instead of Verdugo. Do not care that Verdugo is a rookie, he is much better the Joc.

  6. I agree. Joc at first is hurting the team. I am not the only one noticing that the team as a whole are not hitting. If it weren’t for BEATYs heroics and Smith the lead would be only single digits. They have been slumping, what is Bellingers ave. Since the month of July. They need to stop trying to hit HRS all the time and start playing some small ball. They must get a reliever or its going to be the same old story! Why didn’t someone go out and calm Buhler down when he was arguing with the home plate ump. Roberts or Honeycutt must have been packing for Colorado. They need to sharpen up their play. # 1 is move Joc!!!!!

    • Yes, Joc’s defense at 1st is hurting the team for reasons already pointed out here. Again, Joc is not hitting well enough at all at this time to warrant continued compromise of the defense. He certainly is a trade chip as opposed to the top 4 prospects but maybe Ruiz could be dealt but wss

    • I concur. We are definitely slumping a bit right now…..but all teams slump. Still, watching the Dodgers losing against the Rockies tonight was pretty tough. Its great that we have a relatively significant lead (at least for now, anyways.) We definitely need an improved bull pen, but sloppy defense and silent bats contributed to this inevitable loss. And its unclear to me why Kenta did not get pulled from the game sooner. It was obvious that Kenta was in trouble long before the 5 runs scored in the 5th. Now on to tomorrow & GO DODGERS!

  7. Still at it… not placing blame where it should be.. chalk up another loss to Dave Roberts… one one else… Thin that is about 5 this year.. and last year I lost count… can;t wait to see what dumb move management makes before trading deadline

  8. What’s to worry about? We have a 14 game lead in the West. There’s no need to panic. The lead has allowed us to relax and take things easy. Try new lineups. We need to ease up from that killer mentality and wind down, and give the players a mental rest. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

  9. Well here we are-Monday night vs the slumping Rockies and Pederson has already made an error at 1B. Dave Roberts defines the definition of insanity which is repeating bad things continuously while expecting different results.

  10. So, you’re telling me that mid season is NOT the time to retrain a player to a new position? But, but, we have a 14 game lead.

  11. I retired from the FD. When guys were not sharp on equipment, sloppy at incidents, and making boneheaded mistakes, the captain would take us out drilling for days until we got our act together. Instead of TV time after dinner, he’d take us out doing operations until the guys started performing better and getting up to snuff. Show me a crew performing poorly and I will show you poor leadership. I just watched Joc quit on a grounder to the infield. That alone should be cause for alarm.

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