When the Dodgers won their 107th game of the season, it was almost in spite of themselves. A day after stranding 14 runners on base in a 4-3, extra-inning loss to San Diego, the LA beat the Padres, 1-0, in another extra-inning game that saw them leave another 11 runners on.
In their past eight games, the Boys in Blue have scored just 20 runs. A dismal rate for a team that leads the majors in runs scored. They’ve split those eight, at least in part, because the pitching has been so dominant that it has kept them in the games — did we mention L.A. has also allowed the fewest runs in baseball?
After the game, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts was asked about his level of concern with the offense. As Bill Plunkett reports in the Orange County Register, Roberts remains positive.
“I still think we’re fine,” Roberts said. “Obviously the last week it hasn’t been that productive. I know we’ve ran into some good arms the last week. But I’m not overall concerned. There are some guys that need to clean some things up in this last week, but kind of overall, I feel good about it.”
There are two pretty obvious silver linings or mitigating factors that make it easy to remain optimistic. First, the lineups the Dodgers have been putting out haven’t necessarily been postseason lineups. Joey Gallo is unlikely to get the chance to strike out four times and strand eight runners in a postseason game, for example.
The second silver lining is that in order to strand 25 runners in two games, you have to get at least 25 runners on base. The best way to score is to get a bunch of guys on base, and the fact that getting a bunch of guys on base hasn’t translated to scoring the last two nights doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.
Are there some areas of concern? Sure. Trea Turner has four hits in his last 22 at-bats, with three of them coming in Tuesday’s loss. Gallo is looking more and more like a project that just didn’t pan out. And Chris Taylor is back to his struggles, going 4-for-33 with 13 strikeouts over his past nine games.
But Turner has always been streaky, and if he was tearing the cover off the ball right now, we’d be stressing about him “peaking too soon” or something. Gallo simply won’t get meaningful October at-bats if he doesn’t figure things out, and Taylor and Gallo both at least bring defensive value (CT3’s botched play in left on Tuesday notwithstanding).
The bottom line is that none of us are going to feel good about the October offense until October shows up and they start hitting. Until then, all we can do is worry.
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