Friday, April 26, 2013

AJ Ellis, Gonzalez In Top Seven NL OBP; So Why Can't The Dodgers Score?

AJ Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez rank sixth and seventh in the National League for OBP, as of April 25, 2013. Carl Crawford isn't far behind at #13 (.395), and Mark Ellis is at #28 (.364).

In fact, despite fielding lineups which carry the OBP albatrosses of Luis Cruz (.122 OBP), Ramon Hernandez (.176), and Jerry Hairston Jr. (.188)--all of which have OBPs worse than Hyun-Jin Ryu (.333), not to mention Clayton Kershaw (.250)--the Dodgers still rank fifth in the majors and third in the NL for team OBP, at .337.

And yet, the Dodgers rank 29th in runs scored in the majors, with 64, ahead of only Miami.

The other two NL teams who have higher OBPs than the Dodgers, Cincinnati and Colorado (second and third), rank third and second in runs scored. The best OBP team in the majors, Oakland, also ranks first in runs scored.

So what's wrong with the Dodgers? Why can't we score runs?

Lineup order and consistency have to do with it. Matt Kemp, wedged in at either third or fourth in the order, has only been swinging the bat with any power or consistency over the last series; otherwise, he's been pretty lost these first 21 games. AJ Ellis might be getting on base as a bottom-of-the-order hitter, but he's surrounded by automatic outs.

Mattingly made the "big" move on this roadtrip to switch Gonzalez to bat third and Kemp to bat fourth, which seems to have helped stimulate some scoring, especially early in games.

But can anything be done with the back half of our lineup, given all the dead weight? Perhaps elevate AJ Ellis to sixth, following Andre Ethier, and then just concede the seven and eight spots altogether?