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The Dodgers Offense is Starting to Percolate

 

 

Who are the offensive stars of the Dodgers?

Mookie Betts – Acquired in trade with Boston for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong, Jeter Downs, and half of David Price’s contract.

Freddie Freeman – Acquired via free agency.

Trea Turner – Acquired via trade in a package with rental Max Scherzer, for Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray.

Does AF need to go outside of the organization to get the elite position players?  More on that at a later time.

By the way, where are those Boston fans who were laughing and telling anyone who would listen that Boston would not trade Verdugo straight up for Mookie?

The team goes as do the top three in the order go.  Is it a coincidence that Mookie sits, and the Dodgers are shut out?  The next game he is back in the leadoff role, and the Dodgers put on a 14 run 24 hit show.  I ask that rhetorically and with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Yes the Dodgers lineup is solid.  OK, better than solid.  They have the #1 OPS of any ML team, and are .35 points better than the #2 team.  The Dodgers also have the best OBP of any team in MLB.

While the team certainly stands at the pinnacle, the team needs someone to drive the bus.  That someone is Mookie Betts.  Mookie is playing at an MVP level.  He leads all of MLB with 48 runs.  He leads the NL in HRs and is #2 in MLB with 13.  While he is a leadoff hitter, he is still Top 10 NL and Top 14 MLB in RBIs with 31.

But Mookie is not alone.  #2 in the order is also making noise.  While Freddie’s HR total is down, his OPS is just south of .900.  There is no better #1 and #2 in the lineup than Mookie and Freddie.  Here is where the duo rank in the NL.

 

But how about the #3 in the lineup?  Trea Turner now has a 19 game hitting streak, and that power is starting to come around.  His OPS is now north of .800.  Here are the splits for the top 3 in the lineup.

Mookie Betts

Freddie Freeman

Trea Turner

 

Seasonal OPS for the three:

Mookie – .974

Freddie – .890

Trea – .816

During those split times, the Dodgers are 5-2 in the last 7, 11-4 last 15, and 20-10 last 30.  No team has a better last 15 game record, and only NYY has a better last 30 game record than LAD.

Chris Taylor (.818) and Edwin Rios (.878) also have OPS metrics north of .800.  Bill James offers the OPS grade differentiation below:

BILL JAMES OPS GRADES

Not to be overlooked was Ryan Pepiot’s 3rd start of his MLB career.  Before the game Pepiot was recalled and Phil Bickford was optioned to OKC.  Will Pepiot be optioned a 3rd time to make room for another reliever, or will he remain on the roster and stay in the rotation until Andrew Heaney and/or Clayton Kershaw are deemed ready?

Ryan continues to show improvement.  He still has a tendency to lose that control and command.  He still walks too many and too many other 3 ball counts.  At times, he has trouble with his command and cannot get that 3rd strike to be chased.  These are ML hitters, and they do not chase as much as do MiLB hitters.  He has to trust his pitches and get them to start in the zone and rely on his late movement.  At times it is beautiful to watch, but other times he is just to careful and perhaps not trusting.  Will Smith did a good job of calming him down and getting him to focus and believe.  Will Smith is becoming a premier catcher as well as an offensive force.

Brusdar Graterol inherited 3 runners in the 5th with one out, but navigated the course well, allowing only 1 run on a sac fly.  He allowed a double in the 6th, but no runs.

The next three relievers were somewhat of a roller coaster ride.  Alex Vesia allowed 3 hits and a run before getting out of the 7thDaniel Hudson who appears to be assuming the Blake Treinen role had lapses in control.  He hit two batters in the 8th, but thanks to a DP, nothing else.

Craig Kimbrel gave his best KJ impression in a non-save situation, but still got out of the inning to preserve the victory.  How long before the honeymoon is over for Kimbrel?  If this happened to KJ, the angry masses would be out looking to DFA him.  I recognize that KJ is also struggling some as the Atlanta closer.  There is not going to be any change in the closer’s role.  It looks like Kimbrel is closer to the 2021 CWS version than the 2021 Cubs version.  For the season, Kimbrel has a 4.15 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.  For May those metrics are 5.63 and 1.75 respectively.

As I am writing this, there still is no definitive word on the fate of Max Muncy.  Will he sit again tonight, be placed on the IL, or inserted into the lineup?  Edwin Rios has done nothing to be extracted from the lineup.  Given the chance, can he put up 35 HRs in a season?  Edwin is a better offensive option than Max right now.  If Max is hurt, he should go on the IL and Kevin Pillar’s contract should be purchased.  Pillar is another CF option as well as a ML bat.  Gavin Lux can stay at 2B and continue to show significant signs of improvement.

The LAD train has left the station, and Mookie is the engineer. Those warning track power flies are now starting to leave the yard.  Belli is starting to show signs of life.  Get on board, it could be a fun ride.

 

 

 

 

 

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Badger

Pepiot reminds me of Gonsolin. Great stuff that moves out of the strike zone. When those two start controlling the edges they are 180 inning pitchers. And I can’t believe I’m saying that like 180 is a big deal. I remember when 300 was a big deal. Different time. I’m old.

Keuchel huh. You thinking maybe the Dodgers can fix what’s wrong?

The Dodgers are built to score a lot of runs. As the year wears on, I still believe pitching will need to be reinforced.

Bumsrap

All it might take to pitch 300 innings is some horse liniment.

Singing the Blue

I’m sure someone will pick up Keuchel once he gets released. He’ll basically be free. Would AF take a chance that he could fix him? He was really good as recently as 2020 and it seems as though his control has deserted him the past couple of years.

As far as Rendon is concerned, I think his living the “clean life” and rejecting the “Hollywood life style” has had a major effect on his wrist. He just needs to party more and that would fix everything.

Bumsrap

Speaking of Rendon, sometimes Friedman is made to look good by players who don’t accept his offers.

Singing the Blue

I think Kimbrell’s main problem may be lack of innings. He just doesn’t seem sharp and it’s hard to stay sharp when you’re only used once a week.

Something I hadn’t thought much about, but it occurred to me this morning is the lack of communication between the Dodger training staff and Muncy during the lockout. That could have had a major effect on his rehab and they are paying for it now. I still think there is a good chance he winds up having TJ.

Max will get paid his $13MM for this year but the team has a $13MM option on him for next year with a $1.5MM buyout. I wonder if they would be good sports and pick up the option if he needs TJ.

Anyone remember how long Seager was out when he had TJ? I seem to remember it wasn’t quite as long as a pitcher.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

Muncy is a first baseman first and foremost. Rios’ best position is first base. Lux should be the regular second baseman or shortstop if Trea is not extended with Busch or Taylor taking over at second.

That’s my case for not picking up his option.

If Muncy has TJ then Rios surely gets his at bats. Pillar can fill in for both Taylor and Bellinger. Would Bellinger then be the guy that gives Betts a rest in RF?

I’m curious how Muncy can swing so hard and still be experiencing pain in his elbow.

I wonder if Bellinger will ever keep his head still and level his swing some.

Badger

Was watching Bellinger close up batting practice on Backstage Dodgers and head was dipping a nearly a foot on every swing. But, I too noticed when he goes oppo or back through the box his head doesn’t bob. I have no idea how to stop the dip when he swings for launch, but, maybe show him some film of Jeff Bagwell hitting home runs. Hardly any movement, just a quick, powerful swing.

Badger

About time.

I think we are better served with Rios in and Muncy out. Whatever is needed, Max has to do it now. Not sure about Pillar but hopefully he carpe’s the diem.

And the revolving door to pitching continues to spin. Is this plan for the rest of the year? I doubt it.

Harold Uhlman

RHP Ben Casparius assigned to Great Lakes Loons from Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.05/28/22

LHP Jose Hernandez assigned to Tulsa Drillers from Great Lakes Loons.

IF River Ryan assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from ACL Dodgers.05/27/22

RHP Horacio Andujar assigned to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes from ACL Dodgers.

RHP Mark Washington assigned to Oklahoma City Dodgers from Tulsa Drillers.

Last edited 6 months ago by Harold Uhlman
bluto

Its quite hard not to be enthused by this team on all levels, no?

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