Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We Were Kinda Hoping For Tenth Or Eleventh, However

Ken Gurnick noted that struggling kryptonite-weakened first baseman James Loney has been dropped to seventh in the batting order, effective as of last night's game:

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since late in the 2009 season, first baseman James Loney found himself hitting at a spot lower than sixth in the Dodgers' lineup.

Loney and catcher Rod Barajas swapped spots in the batting order for Tuesday's game against the Brewers, putting the slumping first baseman in the seven-hole, just one spot ahead of left fielder Jerry Sands and his .194 batting average.

There's nothing new about Loney's struggles. But as the Dodgers' offense continues to put up small numbers, the club's lack of production out of one of the more marquee offensive positions in the game becomes more pronounced. [...]

The Dodgers desperately need a third player to complement Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the heart of the lineup. The Loney who hit .289 and .281 in 2008 and 2009 could possibly fill that hole, and the Dodgers haven't given up hope that he can take on that role.

"We want James to be one of those guys, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "Core group of guys, I think you talk about Matt. You talk about Andre. And I think you talk about James from the offensive and defensive side of it. James is one of the guys that we know if we're going to be successful he's going to have to do something for us."

Look, swapping the order of Barajas and Loney isn't going to make a whit of difference except at the team picnic buffet line. With all four of our bottom slots batting at or below Loney's .231, this is truly "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."

Chad Billingsley has a higher batting average than our five through eight slots. Clayton Kershaw is outhitting three of the four. And it's not like Matt Kemp, who leads the team with eight HR, has had any protection all year long.

Maaaaaaaybe Barajas, second on the team with seven HR, gives you a bit more XBH power following Kemp. But Barajas also has 35 Ks, second only to Kemp.

Loney's anemic offense is a problem (heck, even TJ Simers has sunk his teeth into this one, indicating that it is indeed an easy target). But the lack of depth at first base...and catcher, and third base, and left field--is the much bigger issue.


Jason said...

ESPN's SweetSpot blog also picked Loney as the 1st quarter NL LVP. So we've got that going for us.

Jason said...

Simers stats:

* 27 paragraphs
* 44 sentences (including 4 quoted sentences)

That is .614 paragraph-sentence percentage.

Which means Simmers is writing a clip that is 80 points higher than Loney's OPS.

The man is obviously a writing genious and, in his honor, I will only comment in T.J. Simers style for the remainder of the day.

His work here, is done.

Loney Fan said...

Come on! Just give him 24 or 25 more months! He is bound to turn it around.

Josh S. said...

I'm thinking he sold his baseball soul for that 2008 NLDS grand slam.

Josh S. said...

Or the '09 Holliday nut shot.

Josh S. said...

He's batting sixth tonight, so...


Steve Sax said... Loney must be improving in Mattingly's eyes?