Monday, August 6, 2012
The listlessness goes on
By Mark Saxon
Within the past two weeks, the Los Angeles Dodgers have traded for a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat and one of the game's best leadoff men.
That's not easy to do.
So, after the Dodgers were shut out for the second time in five games Monday night, falling 2-0 to a few (putting it nicely) undistinguished Colorado Rockies pitchers, you have to wonder: Is this team ever going to find a semblance of offensive chemistry? They don't need the occasional flareup of scoring. What they need, and haven't gotten, is sustained competence.
It might take a while for this lineup to begin to click with new additions Shane Victorino and Hanley Ramirez added to the mix, but so far the results are encouraging but far from convincing.
Manager Don Mattingly has been waiting for these guys to start hitting since those early April days, so he's not about to start expecting miracles now. The Dodgers are 26th in the majors in runs, 29th in slugging percentage and 22nd in OPS.
Two new hitters and two newly healthy hitters can do a lot to change things, but was the problem simply too big to fix? Even with Victorino and Ramirez, the Dodgers have been shut out twice in the past five games.
"I don't think it's really a matter of gelling. These guys are getting along," Mattingly said. "It's still baseball. You get a good pitch, hit a ball hard. I don't care where you're playing, this game doesn't change."
Against Drew Pomeranz and Adam Ottavino, both of whom had ERAs around 6.00, the Dodgers looked generally befuddled. When they weren't befuddled, things got muddled. The first two runners reached base in both the first and third innings and the Dodgers couldn't score. Other than that, there really wasn't much to talk about.
Afterward, Matt Kemp reflected some of the team's frustration, sighing loudly as he hastily dressed after the game. He helped defuse those early rallies with a strikeout and a double play ball.
"All I saw was fastballs. I didn't do my job," Kemp said. "We didn't come out flat. We just didn't score any runs."
On that much, everyone can agree.