Despite the various troubles the Los Angeles Dodgers have faced, they begin the second half of the season with the best record in the National League.
This, with Yasiel Puig as the lone regular starter hitting over .300. Hanley Ramirez has been in and out of the lineup due to nagging injuries and though Adrian Gonzalez leads the team in home runs (14) and RBIs (60), he is hitting just .250 and endured a month-long slump.
Manager Don Mattingly has stated the Dodgers will go as their pitching does, but more recently added the offense also needs to be capable of scoring runs. Zack Greinke has been a constant for the Dodgers on the mound with an 11-5 record and 2.73 ERA.
When questioned on the Dodgers perceived lack of offense, Greinke came to the team’s defense, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Not really,” Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke disagreed. “A lot of people agree with you. I think you’re too hard on our offensive production. We have the fourth-most runs in the National League and people talk like we’re severely underachieving. I mean, we’re in a tough hitters’ park and we have the fourth-most runs scored in our league. Maybe we could do slightly better but I think the expectations are just too high.”
Truth be told the Dodgers are third in the NL entering Friday with 404 runs scored. Greinke then touched on Ramirez’s health and shared his belief Gonzalez and Matt Kemp will improve in the second half of the season:
With Hanley, it’s about him staying healthy because he’s a great player. I expect Adrian to have a better second half and Kemp to have a better second half. Not saying they were bad. But you expect more. They were so good (in the past) and they’re still very good players. But you can’t expect them to carry an offense.”
As a team, the Dodgers are hitting .258, which is second in the NL and seventh overall. They’re third in the NL with 385 RBIs and third with a .727 OPS. Clearly, the whole has been greater than the sum of its parts.
Where the Dodgers have lacked is with the bases loaded — they’re .175 average (11-for-63) is an MLB-worst. The Dodgers first test with their bats comes against the St. Louis Cardinals, whose pitching staff is holding opponents to a .241 batting average.
The Dodgers catch somewhat of a break however, as Adam Wainwright will not take the mound in the series and they instead draw Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez.
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