Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh Sure, Blame James Loney

The Dodgers have scored only one run since the All-Star Break and look nothing like the potent offensive team, always primed for a comeback victory, that they did prior to the break. And now Jim Peltz speculates that it may be James Loney's lack of power which is to blame:

James Loney is again proving himself a consistent hitter, even if the Dodgers' first baseman has yet to reach his potential in the eyes of Manager Joe Torre.

Loney, 25, had hit safely in 12 consecutive games before going 0 for 3 in Friday's 8-1 loss to the Houston Astros, batting .304 (14 for 46) during the streak.

It was Loney's longest streak of the season, topping an 11-game streak from May 17-28, when the Texas native batted .370.

The latest streak lifted Loney's overall average to .281, though it was down to .279 after Friday's game. But the question that has lingered for some time is whether he can hit for more power.

Loney has hit seven home runs, compared with Andre Ethier's 18 homers, Casey Blake's 12 and Matt Kemp's 11.

Okay, so Loney is 1-for-6 since the break, true. But let's not blame the potent Ethier (1-for-7, leaving five men on base yesterday (with a GIDP) and another tonight to drop his average to .248). Or Blake, who GIDP last night and was 1-for-4 with 2Ks tonight, whose average is a close .285. Or Kemp, who couldn't even get in the starting lineup tonight (not his fault, btw).

Look, Loney may not be the power bat in the lineup, which for a corner infielder is a slight liability. But if Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin are going to continue to swim around the sub-.250 level (which could happen), and Manny Ramirez can't find his sweet stroke again (which is less likely to happen), then I think there are other concrete blocks sinking this ship rather than the consistent Loney (who also plays great defense at first). Point your fingers elsewhere, Peltz.

photo by Juan Ocampo/Dodgers


Lauro said...

He is NOT a great defensive first baseman. And a weak first baseman is much easier to fix than a weak hitting catcher or a weak hitting shortstop.

Orel said...

I love James' defense, but Lauro might have a point. Loney's UZR is -0.4 and his UZR/150 is -1.2.

rbnlaw said...

Name an available 1st baseman you'd rather have right now. Remember, I said available.