The Los Angeles Dodgers finally are starting to get healthy. Now they need to find an offensive flow with the final month of the season approaching.
Their next opportunity will come Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the visiting Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers didn’t put away Saturday’s 5-2 victory until Will Smith had a two-run single in a three-run eighth inning.
Offensive ruts are nothing new, even for the best of clubs. The Dodgers are in a bit of an uneven run of late as they look to get more from players such as Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and Max Muncy.
Bellinger has struggled all season after working his way through injuries. Betts has one hit in three games since returning from his second injured-list stint because of a hip issue, while Muncy (back tightness) entered Saturday hitless in his past 19 at-bats.
Betts and Muncy did reach base a combined five times Saturday, with four walks.
The Dodgers’ first signs of trouble began in a 7-2 defeat to the New York Mets last weekend, although they were facing a quality right-hander in Marcus Stroman. A small alarm went off Wednesday when they struggled to score in extra innings against the San Diego Padres before winning 5-3 in 16.
Another sluggish night came in Friday’s 4-2 defeat to the Rockies. The Dodgers struck out 12 times against four Rockies pitchers and did not earn a walk. That changed Saturday with eight free passes.
Another Dodgers run producer who seemed out of sorts was Chris Taylor, who was batting .205 (8-for-39) with one home run and four RBIs in 11 games before Saturday. But he hit a fourth-inning home run, his 19th for the season but just his second in 23 games.
“C.T., you could see these last couple of weeks, he’s been grinding,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He hasn’t been getting the results he wants, but he’s still going in there and competing every at-bat, playing good defense.”
The Dodgers are expected to go with right-hander Mitch White (1-1, 3.06 ERA) in the series finale. He is 1-0 against the Rockies, with two scoreless innings in relief last Sept. 18.
The Rockies will counter with right-hander Antonio Senzatela (2-9, 4.42), who has been better since coming off the COVID-19 injured list. In four starts since his return, he has a 3.80 ERA.
Senzatela has struggled on the road, going 0-6 with a 5.24 ERA, while the Rockies are 0-9 in his away outings. In 12 outings (10 starts) against the Dodgers in his career, he is 3-5 with a 7.08 ERA and has a 7.48 ERA in 27 2/3 innings at Dodger Stadium.
Of greater concern for the Rockies might be right-hander Daniel Bard, whose struggles continued. Manager Bud Black removed him from his closer role this weekend, and on Saturday in the eighth inning he loaded the bases with nobody out and gave up a two-run, go-ahead single to Will Smith.
“That’s always the challenge with guys who have good movement in controlling and commanding the movement,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Bard, who has a 21.22 ERA over his past seven outings (4 2/3 innings). “That’s a skill. … That’s something we have talked to Daniel about. That’s mechanics, that’s delivery, that’s consistency of release point.”
–Field Level Media