By Jon Weisman
Adjective-defier Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers tonight, but in a sense, the spotlight will be at least as much on the Dodger offense as Kershaw.
Dodger hitters batted .119 with a .237 on-base percentage and .190 slugging percentage in their three-game series against the Rockies this week. In 98 plate appearances, they had eight singles, 11 walks and as many extra-base hits (two) as hit-by-pitches.
Even including their 12-run outburst Sunday against Atlanta, the Dodgers are hitting .171/.263/.326 in their past 10 games — winning five of them thanks to some favorable pitching. They have 13 homers in those 10 games: six by Corey Seager, three by Trayce Thompson, two by Kiké Hernandez and one each for Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner.
Roberts said Trayce Thompson has played himself into everyday status. Thompson could play LF, Puig RF.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 11, 2016
The potential for a turnaround is unmistakable. Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Turner and Adrian Gonzalez are a combined 6 for 48 with three singles and three extra-base hits, for an OPS in the mid-.400s. Just a dose of their normal selves would go a long way.
But for that turnaround to begin tonight, it will have to come against a pitcher, Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto, who is sixth among MLB pitchers in wins above replacement. And it will have to come at AT&T Park, which has been very much a mixed bag for Los Angeles.
Weird fact: Since the start of 2015, the Dodgers have averaged 4.1 runs per game overall. But in their past 14 games at San Francisco, the Dodgers haven’t once scored four or five runs.
They’ve been held to three runs or less 11 times (2-9 in those games). And on the three occasions that the Dodgers have busted out for six runs or more, they’ve won only once.
I wouldn’t want to say the Dodgers are due, any more than I’d want to say, paraphrasing Vin Scully, that we aren’t all day to day. But to quote another memorable source: “When it’s time to change, then it’s time to change …”