Dodgers' offense, good and bad, can be tied to opposing pitching
So are you on board with the thought that the Dodgers are finally hitting the way they’re truly capable? Just line drives everywhere.
As The Times’ Dylan Hernandez noted, in their first 18 games the Dodgers averaged 3.2 runs per game and scored two or fewer runs eight times. In their last five games, they have scored 38 runs; that works out to 7.6 runs per game.
All while winning six of their last eight games.
Quite the impressive uptick, but I’d hold off on the celebrating. The Dodgers’ offensive rise has as much to do with the opposing pitching they’ve seen lately as some new-found hitting groove.
The Dodgers have a very tough schedule in April. They have faced some of baseball’s best pitching staffs, and that does tend to curtail the offensive fireworks.
The Giants have one of the top staffs in baseball, and L.A. has already faced them twice. The Padres currently have the National League’s No.1 staff with a 2.95 ERA and the Cardinals are fourth (3.19). The Rockies have the second-best record in baseball.
And those are the teams the Dodgers faced in their first 15 games, at which point they were 6-9.
When they met the Braves last week, they missed Tommy Hanson. Then came the weekend when they really got healthy against the Cubs and their fat staff 5.15 ERA. They scored 27 runs in the three games in Chicago.
The truth is the Dodgers are not as bad offensively as the team that started the season, nor nearly as good as the team that knocked around the Cubs.
Next up are the Marlins, and they own a 2.98 ERA, second only to the Padres. This figures a better test of this new offensive momentum, though they will miss Florida ace Josh Johnson.
The Dodgers are currently a middle-of-the-pack team offensively. In Major League Baseball they rank 14th in runs (95), 18th in slugging percentage (.384), 10th in average (.262), 17th in home runs (18) and 13th in on-base percentage (.326).
And as currently configured, an average offensive team might be as good as they can hope to be. If matched with a top staff (currently a 4.50 ERA) that could still be enough to win. Just don’t expect a nightly launching.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers' Andre Ethier swings on a pitch in the first inning of the Dodgers' 7-3 win over the Chicago Cubs in a baseball game Sunday in Chicago. Credit: Charles Cherney / AP