After outscoring the San Diego Padres, 25-0, over the three-game Opening Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have hardly reflected the same offensive force they were at Petco Park.
Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, expected to anchor the heart of the order, aren’t yet producing at the rate that’s come to be expected of them. Though, both have shown signs of improvement at the plate in recent games.
Howie Kendrick also got off to a slow start after being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, and Yasiel Puig cooled off since a strong showing through the first three weeks.
The Dodgers’ offensive struggles came to a head on their past homestand as they were swept in a four-game series by the Miami Marlins, and lost six consecutive games. The losing skid came to an end in a 1-0 victory in which Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game with 14 strikeouts and drove in the lone run on the afternoon.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains confident the tide will eventually turn, so long as the club focuses on putting together strong at-bats, according to Jack Baer of MLB.com:
“I don’t pay attention [to average], personally,” Roberts said. “I look at quality of at-bats, the contact, how hard they’re hitting the baseball. There are things we get as far as data to specify how hard the guys are hitting the baseball. For me, I try to take the long view where, if you’re getting good at-bats, hitting the baseball hard, then it will turn and you’ll start to get some hits.”
The first-year manager has stressed the importance of quality at-bats on multiple occasions this season. He lamented the Dodgers’ approach during the six-game losing streak, and has pointed to Puig’s struggles being tied to his swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone.
Entering play on Thursday, the Dodgers rank 15th in the Majors with a 30.7 percent hard contact rate. They’re 21st with a 26.5 percent rate for swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone, making contact 58 percent of the time, which ranks 28th in the Majors.