The Dodgers lost another frustrating, low scoring game on Thursday to the middling St. Louis Cardinals. Entering Friday, the Dodgers are now two and half games behind the Giants in the division. There’s much ado about Bellinger, Dave Roberts’ decisions, and bullpen games, but the offense has wildly underperformed down the stretch.
Since the start of August, the Dodgers offense ranks 15th in Runs (161) and 17th in OPS (.730). Conversely, the pitching staff owns a sterling 2.32 ERA. A lineup with this much talent shouldn’t just be average. They should be great.
On top of Bellinger’s terrible season, Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner have all been slumping the last few weeks.
Surprisingly, Taylor owns the highest strikeout rate on the Dodgers since August 1st (35.3%). Yes, even higher than Bellinger. To add even more context, it’s the fifth highest K-rate in the majors during that time frame. Taylor’s .192 batting average in that span is also, nothing short of alarming.
Taylor leads the Dodgers in games played this year, could the massive workload finally be wearing on the super utility man?
Muncy’s decline isn’t as stark as Taylor’s, but it’s another big reason why the Dodgers offense is sputtering. In the first half of the year, Muncy was an MVP candidate and proud owner of a .972 OPS. Post All-Star break, Muncy is down to a .834 OPS, but more importantly, has seen his walk rate fall from 18.2% to 9.1%.
Of the three, Justin Turner might be the closest to getting his groove back. The veteran clubbed two home runs in Tuesday’s 7-2 win in St. Louis. Still, Turner hit .216 in August with just three doubles in 74 at-bats.
Chasing down a quality Giants team is tough enough, but it’s even more difficult when half of your everyday position players are slumping.
If the Dodgers are going to win the division, it needs to start with the offense.
It also needs to start right now.