One look at any of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ box scores in recent weeks and it’s apparent the team has been hampered by inconsistent hitting. Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe have been the team’s better, if not most consistent hitters. With Uribe out of the lineup since May 9, Gordon and Puig have been left with carrying the offense.
The lack of production has been particularly apparent in the middle of the lineup with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez all struggling to collect hits and RBIs game in and game out. However, box scores don’t always tell the full story, which may hold true for a portion of the 0-fer at-bats from the Dodgers’ power hitters.
Clearly in a larger sample size, Gonzalez’s stats from April, which also includes two games from March, are far superior to what he’s produced thus far in May. The first baseman hit .317/.377/.614 and had a .338 BABIP, benefitting from the eight home runs and nine doubles he hit in the month and some change.
Through 12 games in May, Gonzalez’s averages drop to a bleak .146/.255/.208 and a .150 BABIP. Don’t count Gonzalez among those concerned over the decline in production, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I looked it up the other day. In April, I hit 46 percent of my balls hard and, in May, I’ve hit 44 percent of my balls hard. So, does that sound like a slump to you?” Gonzalez said. “I’m not going to get frustrated if I’m swinging the bat well. I don’t look at stats. Stats don’t mean anything to me.”
One reason that may be to blame for Gonzalez’s ineffectiveness is the heavy dose of shifts he’s faced. On multiple occasions, ground balls hit into the right field grass that are typically singles, have instead been groundouts to the second baseman.
Gonzalez has recorded one hit in five of the Dodgers’ last 10 games. He did manage to deliver an RBI double in the sixth inning of Dodgers’ 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins Tuesday night.
By most accounts Gonzalez is a professional hitter whose swing is too smooth to result in the lowly averages he’s currently hitting for. In baseball more so than any other sport, the lengthy season provides plenty of opportunities for players to go through peaks and valleys.
While he may be stuck in a valley, Gonzalez has proven he’s more than capable of putting the bat on the ball and solidifying himself as a threat hitting from the cleanup spot.
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