I believe that the most effective way to score runs is to get on base and hit for power. Take for example yesterday’s game against the Cubs. The Dodgers wasted a good outing from Chad Billingsley (6IP, 4H, 2R, 7K). Billingsley’s only mistake — a two-run blast to Derrek Lee, preceded by a walk to Ryan Theriot. But there you see the fundamentals of scoring runs — Theriot gets on base, Lee makes Billingsley pay with a home run.
Later in the game, Aramis Ramirez added a solo shot off of Scott Proctor, who continues to struggle this year. Two months into the season, and he’s still not looking very sharp. According to the broadcast, more than half the hits he’s given up this year have gone for extra bases. Perhaps he needs more innings, but it’s hard to argue in favor of it given his rather unsightly opponents’ OPS to date.
The Cubs won this game, despite good pitching from the Dodgers’ starter, by getting on base and hitting for power. I don’t think that could be any clearer to the Dodgers. Nonetheless, I should note that the Dodgers did just fine getting on base yesterday, racking up 10 hits and four walks. Fourteen baserunners, and only one run. Did they hit for power? Matt Kemp doubled twice, and Andre Ethier added one of his own. Other than that, just a bunch of little singles here and there. No power.
The Dodgers clearly lack power. Andruw Jones, their power-hitting messiah, has instead been a power-hitting void. Jeff Kent looks every bit of his 40 years. Meanwhile, developing hitters Ethier and Kemp are within reach of their career slugging percentages. Russell Martin and James Loney are a little further back of their career SLG, but still within striking distance.
According to the Dodgers (Joe Torre, anyway), inexperience is the problem. Inexperience, and not batting Mark Sweeeney (.100/.196/.125) fifth behind Jeff Kent (.242/.287/.373) is the problem. Meanwhile, I hear Andy LaRoche is getting PT at 1B. Why? You can never tell with Ned Colletti (improving LaRoche’s trade value/trading Loney/FINALLY DFA-ing Sweeney), but if it means he gets to LA faster (a la Jonathans Meloan and Broxton in the bullpen), then so be it. You’d think given Kent’s apparent to everyone but Bob Brenly and Joe Torre rustiness, that LaRoche would start taking grounders at 2B.
And speaking of Bob Brenly, I won’t even touch the very thinly-veiled disdain for Kemp. The guy must be a dear friend to Luis Gonzalez.