Adrian Gonzalez has not been the offensive spark the Dodgers hoped for when… (Harry E. Walker / MCT )
In search of offense, a continuing story …
Look at the Dodgers rotation and you probably figure that should be the team weakness. A bunch of .500-looking pitchers, currently minus ace Clayton Kershaw.
But the Dodgers’ rotation has a collective 3.54 ERA, third lowest in baseball. Lower than the Giants, Cardinals, Brewers and Phillies. They keep them in games.
The problem has continued to be a horrifically disappointing offense. It is there where they continue to hover among the lower five teams in baseball in most every significant category: runs and RBI (26th), OPS (28th), home runs and slugging (29th) and total bases (30th).
New acquisitions Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Adrian Gonzalez were brought in to address failings in the offense and lineup, but it hasn’t happened. Certainly not with any regularity.
Since Gonzalez arrived as the big piece, the Dodgers have gone 9-15. They’ve disappeared from the division race and are threatening to do the same in the wild-card chase.
Don Mattingly has pretty much gone with a set lineup since the arrival of Gonzalez, but it hasn’t translated into any real scoring. Andre Ethier, Luis Cruz and Mark Ellis are the only ones hitting, and only Ethier with any real power.
A look at each of the eight regulars since Gonzalez arrived Aug. 25 in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage:
Shane Victorino -- .213/.304/.270 (eight runs)
Mark Ellis -- .283/.320/.435 (12 runs)
Matt Kemp -- .195/.271/.312 (four RBI)
Adrian Gonzalez -- .245/.299./.378 (one homer)
Hanley Ramirez -- .211/.265/.379 (32 strikeouts in 95 at-bats)
Andre Ethier -- .293/.356/.878 (six homers)
Luis Cruz -- .292/.308/.382 (eight RBI)
A.J. Ellis -- .194/.286/.269 (five runs)
Add it up, and you get a team struggling to score most every night. A team that has scored three or fewer runs in 16 of those 24 games since Gonzalez arrived.
Difficult to believe the lineup was stronger with James Loney, Juan Rivera and Dee Gordon/Jerry Hairston Jr. in it every day, but it was. Or at least it was certainly winning more and keeping playoff hopes alive.
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