At 2-6 entering Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are off to their worst start of a season since opening 1-7 in 1976. They’ve been shutout three times, are 0-4 in one-run games, and have lost contests in the 14th and 15th innings, respectively.
Oddly, the Dodgers are 0-5 in games Clayton Kershaw or Kenley Jansen have pitched in. Though, Jansen worked his way out of trouble in the 12th inning on Saturday, keeping the Dodgers’ hopes alive.
While the pitching staff has largely answered the bell thus far, the offense has lagged behind. Los Angeles went just 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position, with one of those hits Logan Forsythe’s go-ahead single in the 14th.
It should be noted batters in some instances were the victims of bad luck as hard-hit balls found gloves. But as a whole, the team has not replicated the same quality of at-bats that were present last season and into the playoffs, particularly with men in scoring position.
It’s that deficiency that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pointed to and called for improvement after Saturday’s loss at AT&T Park, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It’s one of those things where we’ve got to have better at-bats in those situations,” Roberts said. “If you look at those at-bats, we went out of the strike zone quite a bit. To their credit, they didn’t give in. It’s that cat-and-mouse and who’s going to be more stubborn in the strike zone. I think we’ve seen early on in the season we’ve been a little too impatient – very uncharacteristic. I just know our group. I know our guys. To put those relentless at-bats together, we’re just not doing that as consistently as we’ve seen. … There just needs to be a better pitch-to-pitch focus.”
The Dodgers as a team are batting .206/.278/.289 with a .246 wOBA and 53 WRC+. Their .566 on-base plus slugging percentage ranks 27th in the Majors. The absence of Justin Turner can’t be understated, but several regulars are also hitting below career averages and expectations.
Culprits include Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor. Considering Roberts’ consistent message and emphasis on quality of an at-bat, the hope and belief is the tide will eventually turn in the Dodgers’ favor.