Dodgers Find It Hard To Drive In Runners In Scoring Position When There Aren't Any

As we wait to see whether or not the Dodgers sign Zach Lee and/or Kevin Gausman, the Dodgers have a major league game to play, as they finish out their four-game series in Atlanta.

The Dodgers have scored a grand total of three runs in the first three games of this series. The runs came as the result of two double plays and a sacrifice fly. They have no hits in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Of course, batting average with runners in scoring position is the go-to stat when a team is struggling offensively, but it goes deeper than that.

The other problem of the Dodger offense is that they aren't getting anybody in scoring position in the first place. In addition to their 16 at-bats with RISP in Atlanta this weekend, they have an intentional walk and a sacrifice bunt, giving them a total of 18 plate appearances, or an average of six per game. The National League average this season has been 10.4 plate appearances per game with runners in scoring position, so the Dodgers are not only failing with runners in scoring position but they aren't getting nearly enough opportunities in the first place.

If we look at the numbers since the All-Star break, it's even worse:

2010 Dodgers With Runners In Scoring Position
Split Gms PA/Gm BA/OBP/SLG OPS Runs/Gm
Pre All-Star Break 88 11.3 .279/.364/.455 .818 4.81
Post All-Star Break 30 9.3 .226/.330/.301 .631 3.10

Chad Billingsley gets the call for the Dodgers, hoping to continue his streak of 74 1/3 innings without allowing a home run. Since returning from the disabled list on June 28, Billingsley is 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA in nine starts despite a declining strikeout rate. In 13 starts prior to his stint on the DL, Billingsley struck out 20.7% of his batters faced, with a 2.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his nine starts since, he has struck out 16.3% of his batters faced, with a 1.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Tommy Hanson pitches for the Braves, but he might as well be an honorary Dodger. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts, with a 1.76 ERA during that span. Yet his record is just 1-3 in those eight starts, and the Braves have lost five of his last six outings. Atlanta has scored 26 runs in his last eight starts, an average of 3.25 per game.

On this date 22 years ago, the Dodgers, who were two and a half games up on the Astros in the NL West, traded talented but mercurial slugger Pedro Guerrero, arguably the best hitter in LA Dodger history, to the Cardinals for National League ERA leader John Tudor. Tudor went 4-3 with a 2.41 ERA down the stretch for the Dodgers, then allowed four runs in five innings in his one NLCS start. Tudor started Game 3 of the World Series, and retired the first four batters, but badly injured his elbow and had to depart. He missed almost all of 1989, and retired one year later, with the Cardinals.

UPDATE: The Dodgers have signed 11th rounder Joc Pederson, an outfielder from Palo Alto who had committed to USC, per Jim Callis of Baseball America. Pederson got $600,000, roughly four times the recommended slot. Pederson's father Stu was also an outfielder who was drafted by the Dodgers, in the 9th round in 1981. The elder Pederson appeared in eight games for the Dodgers in 1985, going hitless in four at-bats, but he did have a sacrifice fly in game number 160.

Lineups

Dodgers      Braves
LF Podsednik      
2B Infante
2B Theriot RF Heyward
RF Ethier SS Gonzalez    
1B Loney 1B McCann
3B Blake C Glaus
CF Kemp
3B Conrad
SS Carroll CF Ankiel
C Ausmus LF Cabrera
P Billingsley P Hanson    

Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.

Game Time: 4:10 p.m.

TV:  KCAL

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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