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Dodgers: Why the LA Offense Has Been Hot and Cold

Each time a key bat gets healthy, another goes down.



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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Dodgers State of the NL West: Sizing up LA’s Competition for a 9th-Straight Division Crown

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. When players like Bellinger, Muncy, Seager and Turner are not in the lineup and when facing one of the better pitchers in the league it should be a surprise they get shut out.

    On paper how does their starting lineup compare with other teams in the league? Certainly it falls far short of the rhetorical question earlier this season of best team ever

    • Actually even with those guys out our lineup is still better than most and even some playoff teams. There’s no excuse for sucking with this team

  2. Regarding the Dodgers’ offense, it has to be as close as possible to what we saw last year for the Dodgers to repeat. The key is Betts and Seager at the top of the lineup. If Betts and Seager, once he returns, continue to under-perform, then it will have a negative domino effect on the rest of the lineup, even when Muncy and Bellinger come back.
    Betts and Seager, if they both do not hit at an elite MVP level, the rest of the season, at the very least, must hit at or near an All-Star level for the Dodgers to have the best chance to repeat.
    That’s what made the difference for the Dodgers to win it all last season from an offensive perspective, they finally had elite offensive production from the top of the lineup.

  3. Inconsistency is also a result of players who can’t hit both hands of a pitcher, for example when lefty Jose Alvarado came in and retired all 6 batters he faced striking out 4 or 5 of them in the 7th and 8th innings.

  4. I think the Dodgers offense will be fine when and if they get healthy. I’m not worried about that. What does concern me is, what happened to the Dodger’s vaunted farm system? Pretty much everyone they’ve brought up to replace injured players haven’t looked good at all! That’s what we should be concerned about.

    • Their best prospects are starters on the big league team now aside from Ruiz. What’s left are guys who’ve been buried the last few years because of lack of roster spots, they’re finally getting a chance but were never expected to be stars like Seager or Bellinger

    • The 2017 draft was a disaster, with no one but Zach Reks and Andre Jackson on the 40 man (both of whom haven’t appeared in MLB this year). The players we drafted should have been ready for the bigs by now but have absolutely failed or been used as trade chips. The only others are ones who have been blocked from the big leagues and haven’t gotten anything going YET, such as Peters and Nuese.

  5. Simple.. They cannot hit a #1 starter and any average southpaw will shut them down. It’s not rocket science Doc!

  6. I believe the inconsistent hitting derives from hitters placing too much pressure on themselves out of a fear that the bullpen won’t hold up. And THAT derives from the fact that the Dodgers paid too much for Trevor (no stick’em) Bauer. And THAT led to the Dodgers having too little to pay for star relievers. Result of that was that the Dodgers signed too many reclamation projects for the bullpen who themselves got re-injured—Kahnle, Knebel, Nelson. Ultimately this has led to over-reliance on relievers like Bickford, Vesia, Carrillo, White, and Uceta—most of whom probably needed more time in the minors. That is a long trail of reasoning that comes down to the fact that they basically paid too much for Bauer. Hmm… Does the front office have a Napoleon complex—trying too hard to prove their worth by going outside and taking on massive contracts—Betts, Bauer—rather than letting a good farm system develop naturally?

    • Everyone wants to blame the puppet Roberts but he doesn’t have many options out of the pen like u said. The reason he had to use Jansen in what was a 5-0 game a few games ago was because the reclamation project couldn’t get 3 outs without making it a save situation. Our best arms will be finished by October because of this

  7. Every little boo boo these guys go on the injured list.
    Fragile as glass.
    Play through pain.
    They did in the old days.

  8. Dave Robert’s is afraid too send runners in tight games. As a fan of the Dodgers since 1968. He’s been given all of this talent and can barely sustain a 4 game winning streak. Not just pitching also bad strategies like shifting on defense no bunting or no base stealing. Basically im very over Dave Robert’s.

  9. On the positive side, we now know that there is no depth on the farm, dispite what all you “knowledgable” writers have been telling us for the past 3 years. So now Andrew can get busy building up the farm. Looks like some big problems in the near future.

  10. Every time Barnes catches and Smith sits on the bench, the Dodgers are weakened offensively. I like having two capable catchers and lessening the wear and tear they take over a season. But when Smith sits, as he did in this shutout, somebody else is going to have to pick up the offensive slack. Mookie is already returning to form. Leave him alone. He’s fine. Seager will get hot at some point after he returns. Lux is finally hitting for the first time in his MLB career. I think the Dodgers are fine. And Taylor is having a career year, and is the team MVP so far. The Giants can’t keep up their current pace. Their just not that good. The Padres are good, but are slumping badly right now. The Dodgers are playing well now, and will improve. They will win back to back championships. That WS hangover stuff is baloney except for the Giants who could only win in even numbered years.

  11. It appears that the preparation/training aspects for the shorter season (2020) carried over to the pre-2021 season, ergo … too many injuries!!! Somebody will fall on the sword! And this specializing with lineups particularly in the catching department so that #1 and #2 starters are mollified, in my opinion, is not a good decision. “I Want My Way Now!!!”

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