Dodgers Defensive Miscues Continue to be Something to Keep an Eye On

Look, it’s tough to be the guy that nitpicks after a 10-run victory on the road, but I’m about to be that guy. 2021 has been an interesting season for the Dodgers. Interesting in that it really hasn’t been what you would have expected heading into the year. LA had a roster flush with star power and talent. On opening day alone, the 26-man roster had three league MVPs, three former Cy Young award winners, and several multi-time MLB All-Stars.

Yet, here in the middle of August, the Dodgers have committed an unsightly 68 errors on defense and allowed 60 unearned runs, tops in baseball.

Last night in New York, the team was officially charged with only one error, but the sloppy play we saw earlier in the season reared its ugly head in a big way. By the estimation of Dave Roberts, at least 4 outs were left on the field behind Max Scherzer, costing the ace the opportunity to pitch into the 7th or even 8th inning.

[We] didn’t play good defense behind him — infield defense — Gave away bases, outs. But for [Scherzer], he didn’t bat an eye. He picked us up time and time again tonight and found his way in distress and pitched out of it, limited damage. Can’t say enough about him. We needed that outing. But I think we made it a little more difficult than it should have been.

The sloppy play was big enough a problem on Sunday night that ESPN commentator Alex Rodriguez spoke critically of the Dodgers… and he wasn’t 100% off base. For once.

Related: Dave Roberts Has No Answer for Uncharacteristically Bad Defense

For what it’s worth, the miscues have clean up over the last few weeks to a month, as Doc pointed out after the game…

We’ve been pretty good for the last month, but [Sunday] we just gotta wash that one.

…but at this stage of the season, sitting 4 games behind the division-leading Giants with 44 games remaining and only 3 more head-to-head matchups left with San Francisco this season, the Dodgers can’t really afford any sloppiness. 

Still, back to the positive side of the ledger, LA returns home to Dodger Stadium after a successful 5-1 road trip. They welcome the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates to the ballpark for 3 before facing the Mets again over the weekend.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Still Confident This Team Wins the Division

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


  1. I loved it when they had the opposite of a “triple play” on that play in the 4th where they missed getting an out at second, an out at first, or an out at third. All on the same play. Actually, I didn’t love it, but I have to admit it was entertaining, in a “I’m glad we scored 14 runs” kind of way.

  2. Fortunately, the playoffs don’t start tomorrow.
    The Dodgers’ IF D right now is as shaky as can be. What we saw last night is still hard to process, especially considering that the Dodgers are the defending Champs and on track to win 96+ games this season.
    The defense should improve just by T. Turner and Seager developing some familiarity over the next 7 weeks and getting in sync with each other.
    However, as much as Will Smith deserves praise for his offense, he deserves equal criticism for his head scratching defense and decision making. He calls a good game behind the plate–but the rest of it is real shaky, especially in late game situations.
    JT is not what he was with the glove a few years ago and Muncy has been off kilter the past 2 weeks.
    With all the concerns regarding the Dodgers’ SPing, the BP and the inconsistent offense, it’s the IF defense that I’m most concerned with.
    I think we are going to be holding our breath on every ground ball and on every play on the IF in the WC game and/or the NLDS.

    1. Will Smith will improve defensively. His bat single handedly won the prior two games for the Dodgers.

  3. Think it might have something to do with the fact that with a few exceptions, most of the players are playing different positions on different days? Position flexibility is a blessing when preparing a lineup but it also has its disadvantages when the guy playing third base today also played SS, CF, and RF in the same month.

  4. 14 runs cover a multitude of sins. But you can’t always score 14 runs. And the Dodgers have a habit of scoring very few runs in the game immediately following a big offensive game. Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. The Dodgers did one of these three well last night. Except for Sherzer who looked great again, and could have thrown a shutout, and gone deeper in the game, with a little defense behind him.

    1. The defense last night would have been real detrimental had those happen in a PS game in October. Vin Scully remarked a long time ago that a bad defense will kill you.

  5. T. Turner is a defensive liability for now at second base and also W. Smith at catcher; both should improve at these positions but probably not enough with the 40+ games remaining for this year. Erratic defense, inconsistent offense, and a bull pen that has everyone except the opposing team holding their breath really looks like a wildcard game with SDO which is not a good match up for LA.

  6. with so many players out of position, defense takes a tumble. But we just about have everyone back now. There is no spot for Taylor!!!! 1st Muncy, 2nd T Turner, SS Seager, 3rd J Turner, LF AJ, CF Cody, RF Betts. Leaving doc to pick or choose Will or Austin to catch, and Taylor to sub for any starter needing a blow. We will soon finally see the Dodger team as envisioned by management in the spring (T Turner only add substitute for Lux!) and the team is getting hot and on the heels of the gnats, and will win the West again!! going to be fun watching the gnats and Reds fight it out in the WC game!

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