Dave Roberts: Dodgers’ Strikeouts ‘A Little Problematic’

The Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged a disappointing homestand with a 10-0 shutout win over the New York Mets on Sunday to avoid being swept.

Manager Dave Roberts watched his offense provide Tyler Glasnow with a nice cushion of run support, buoyed by an eight-run fifth inning. The early weeks of the regular season have been up and down run for parts of the Dodgers lineup, and the group as a whole has struggled to hit with runners in scoring position.

Strikeouts have also been trouble spot in the early going.

“With certain guys, a drag is a good word,” Roberts said. “Right now, a little problematic. I think that strikeouts are going to happen. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve talked about being a good hitter, and being able to put the ball in play.

“And then you start to layer in, you know, the strikeout with runners in scoring position where you just got to move the ball forward. And so for me, that’s something that has to get better.”

Among hitters with at-least 20 plate appearances, the Dodgers have five players as with at least a 30% strikeout rate this season: James Outman, Teoscar Hernández, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Andy Pages.

Hernández, Muncy and Pages have offset their individual struggles with slugging percentage, but the issue at hand is large considering them being sandwiched together in the lineup.

“I think that they’re not all created equal, as far as the end results,” Roberts said. “I think at times, there’s expanding early as opposed to getting ahead of the count, you’re behind 0-1. Essentially, there’s a panic at some point, and then we’re just not making contact.

“And again, this is not everyone. Everyone is not guilty. It’s hard. But I still think the best hitters are typically the best hitters with runners in scoring position. There’s a parallel there. And if you’re not a good hitter, then you’re typically not very good with runners in scoring position. And hitter is the bat to ball.”

The top and bottom parts of the Dodgers lineup need to work in conjunction with one another, and striking out when runners are in scoring position does nothing to advance the line.

The Dodgers currently are fifth-worst among all teams with a 24.8% strikeout rate in those situations.

Is Dave Roberts fair in critique of Dodgers strikeout woes?

The Dodgers have been a team that has long pushed away the stigma of strikeouts in exchange for slugging for quite a few years.

Dating back to 2021, the Dodgers have a combined 22.1% strikeout rate, placing them at 21 among 30 teams. In that same stretch, they’ve amassed a 114 wRC+, the best in baseball.

The real criticism this season falls in the strikeout rate outside the top four hitters of the Dodgers lineup. Among players on the roster not including Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman or Will Smith, their strikeout rate is a league-worst 29.9%.

With runners in scoring position, that same group has a 31.2% strikeout rate, second-worst in baseball. They’ve also combined for a .188 batting average in 154 plate appearances in those situations.

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