On paper, the Dodgers arguably have the best lineup in baseball. Unfortunately, injuries have prevented that lineup from consistently playing together. The revolving door of injuries has, at times, produced inconsistent offensive results.
This isn’t breaking news, but it does feel like something that’s been lost in the shuffle as the Dodgers chase the Giants in the NL West. Los Angeles hasn’t been healthy from a lineup perspective. All. Year.
First, 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger went out with a leg fracture in early April. Then, 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts missed four games with lower back stiffness. Young upstart Zack McKinstry missed 33 games from mid-April to late May with an oblique strain.
2020 NLCS and World Series MVP Corey Seager has been out since May 15th after an errant pitch fractured his hand. Platoon extraordinaire AJ Pollock was out of the lineup for 18 games. Don’t look now, but Bellinger is out again with a bad hamstring and Muncy is missing time with a strained oblique of his own.
It’s difficult to put up runs every game when there’s always a key piece missing from the puzzle.
In a dizzying display of inconsistency, the Dodgers have scored double digit runs in a winning effort only to put up one lone run in a loss the next game three times this season. This is also the team that started 13-2 and then went 5-15.
There’s little doubt that the injuries to the big bats have played a role in the offense’s Jekyll and Hyde behavior.
Dodgers Offensive Rankings
In spite of the injuries and dry spells, the offense still rates third in both runs scored and on-base percentage through Tuesday. They’re first in walk-rate (10.9%) and second in weight runs created plus (113).
All of that and they’ve started the likes of Luke Raley, DJ Peters, and Sheldon Neuse more than any team should in the year 2021.
Much has gone wrong for the Dodgers offense in the health department. They’re still one of the best offenses in the league. It’s safe to say the majority of contenders wouldn’t still be 14 games over .500 if two of their five best hitters were out of the lineup on a nightly basis. The eventual return of lineup linchpins like Muncy, Seager, and Bellinger will create reliable run support for the pitching staff.
Once the lineup is back to full strength, expect plenty of runs, night in, and night out.