In a movie called “Twice in a Lifetime,” Gene Hackman plays a blue collar worker in Seattle who is a diehard Seahawks fan. There is a scene where he is watching the Mariners, who were very bad in the 80’s when the film was made, on TV, and his son says “these guys can’t get their act together.” At which point Hackman’s character says “ahh, football season will be here soon” (a dated reference to the Jim Zorn-Steve Largent days). Gee talk about art imitating life; especially in Los Angeles. While USC and UCLA football are currently ruling the roost, the Dodgers are, well, they can’t get their act together.
Los Angeles lost two of three to San Francisco this weekend and now find themselves on the outside looking in as far as their postseason chances are concerned. They were a game out of the division lead on July 31st ; they enter Tuesday 5.5 games behind the Giants. A two game series in Arizona followed by four home games versus the Cardinals, the team currently ahead of the Dodgers for a wild card playoff spot, are up next. These next six games might be the most telling games the Dodgers will play the rest of the way.
The Dodgers are just 4-4 for the month of September. There are a couple of reasons the Dodgers find themselves in this current pickle. Injuries have sidelined both pitcher Clayton Kershaw (sore hip) and Matt Kemp (sore shoulder). But the main culprit has been an anemic offense.
The Dodgers plated a total of five whole runs against the Giants. They were 1 for 23 with runners in scoring position. Ironically, the scoring problems stem from the players who were going to add the lumber to a balsa wood line-up.
The Dodgers are 6-9 since acquiring Adrian Gonzalez. He is batting .242 as a Dodger and has not hit a home run since his Dodger debut way back on August 25th. The Dodgers were scoring an average of four runs a game “pre-” Gonzalez; they are averaging just 3.3 runs a game with him. They have scored at a miserable clip of 2.75 runs a game in September. Although Gonzalez’s average is disappointing, he is hitting .313 with runners in scoring position. So if he is coming through in the clutch, what is the other problem?
Another mid-season acquisition, Shane Victorino, is part of the reason Gonzalez hasn’t had too many chances to drive in runs. Victorino is hitting just .245 as a Dodger and was recently “demoted” from the lead-off spot to the number two hole. Second baseman Mark Ellis has been the spark at the top of the line-up these days. He is hitting .333 over his last 10 games and is currently on a seven game hitting streak. Five of those seven have been multi-hit games.
The Dodgers mid-season pitching acquisitions have fizzled as much as the bats. Former Phillie Joe Blanton is 1-4 in seven Dodger starts. He has made it into the seventh inning just once in those games. The jury may still be out on Josh Beckett who came over from the Red Sox with Gonzalez. The bad news is he is just 1-2 in his three starts; the good new is he has given up only eight runs in those starts.
These guys better get their act together soon. Dodgers fans aren’t quite ready for football season.