Friday, June 29, 2012
Punchless effort in June
By Dan Braunstein | ESPN Stats & Information
Not only did the Giants’ three-game sweep of the Dodgers earlier this week erase LA’s lead in the NL West, it also marked the first time in Dodgers franchise history that they had been shut out in every contest in a series of at least three games. The Dodgers managed to go scoreless for 33 consecutive innings before scoring two runs against the Mets Thursday night.
With two games left in June, the Dodgers have hit only six home runs in the month; 24 players across the league have hit more since June 1. As a team, the Dodgers are slugging .295 in June. For comparison’s sake, only three qualified players in the league have a slugging percentage that low this season (one of whom is Dee Gordon).
When it looked like things may have been at their worst, Andre Ethier left Wednesday’s loss with an oblique strain. With Ethier and Matt Kemp out and A.J. Ellis on the bench, the Dodgers started a lineup Thursday night that has combined to hit nine home runs all season.
More bad news for the Dodgers is the upcoming schedule. Only six of their next 29 games are against teams currently under .500. Even having played their last seven games against teams .500 or better, the Dodgers have still played the league’s easiest schedule so far and the most games against teams under .500.
Even when the Dodgers have scored, they haven’t always won. Last Friday night, the Dodgers scored five runs in what would end up being their highest-scoring output of the 1-8 road trip. They jumped out a 5-0 second-inning lead but gave up eight unanswered runs in an 8-5 loss to the Angels. The Dodgers have allowed seven or more runs nine times this season, with eight of those games coming on the road.
Friday’s loss was the result of the team’s largest blown lead of the season, and it was only the second time the Dodgers had scored five runs and lost. They’re now 29-2 in such games; only the Braves at 27-1 have won a higher percentage of games in which they’ve scored at least five runs.
The saving grace for the Dodgers, of course, is the imminent return of Kemp to the lineup. However, given the struggles of the rest of the lineup, his return alone may not be enough for the Dodgers to get back to where they were offensively at the start of the season.
Thanks to Baseball-Reference, here are some other notes looking back on the past week for the Dodgers.
DODGERS FINALLY GET A HIT FROM THE DH
Before Bobby Abreu’s first-inning home run last Friday night, Dodgers designated hitters had been 0 for 20 this season. The Dodgers finished interleague play with just two hits from their designated hitters. The two hits from the DH are the fewest for any NL team with nine games in AL parks since interleague play began in 1997. Dodgers DHs hit .061; Dodgers pitchers are hitting .113.
KERSHAW ALLOWS FIRST HR IN SAN FRANCISCO
Clayton Kershaw allowed a home run to Melky Cabrera at AT&T Park Tuesday, the first home run Kershaw had ever given up in San Francisco; he had gone more than 40 innings without allowing one. Kershaw’s ERA at the park rose to a still-miniscule 0.79. The home run to Cabrera has the sixth Kershaw has allowed with his slider this year, twice as many as he gave up with the pitch last year.
LONEY IN CAREER-WORST SLUMP
James Loney went 0 for 4 Thursday night, extending his streak of consecutive at-bats without a hit to a career-worst 22. Loney already had a streak of 16 at-bats without a hit to start the season. In this more recent hitless stretch, Loney has hit just six balls to the outfield. He hasn’t been able to carry over his strong finish from a year ago, when he hit .357 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in the final two months of the season.
EOVALDI START MEANS DODGERS LOSS
Nathan Eovaldi gave up eight runs Monday in what was his worst start of the season. Once again, however, the Dodgers’ offense didn’t do him any favors. In Eovaldi’s six starts, all losses for the Dodgers, his offense has scored him a total of five runs and no more than two in any game. The Dodgers hadn’t lost six straight games started by any one pitcher since 2009, when they lost seven straight starts by Clayton Kershaw, and they hadn’t lost any pitcher’s first six starts of the season since 1998. That year the Dodgers lost Carlos Perez’s first six starts after acquiring him at the trade deadline.