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Dodger Offense Out For A Stroll, Needs To Walk More

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The Dodgers are in a bit of a funk here.  They have gone 18-21 over their last 39 games, despite giving up more than four runs only nine times during that span.  No, the problem hasn't been the pitching, with a 3.31 ERA over those last 39 games.  In fact, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 162-144 over this stretch of games.  Their expected record should be something like 22-17, so part of this slump is luck.  But, if there is one area to fix, its the offense.

The Bobbleslam game is the turning point for the offense.  The team finished a sweep of the Reds, and were riding a five-game winning streak.  Since then, the offense has slowed to a crawl, averaging just 4.15 runs per game, hitting .270/.334/.408 over that time.  As it stands now, the offense is basically Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, with only occasional contributions from everyone else.

A main reason for the offensive downturn has been the lack of walking.  There was a sharp decline in bases on balls after the Manny Ramirez suspension, which was to be expected, but since his return I expected a return to the patient ways of the early part of the season.  That just hasn't happened:

Dates Games BB/Gm Runs/Gm BA/OBP/SLG
April 6- May 6 29 4.86 5.55 .283/.376/.426
May 7 - July 1 50 3.34 4.40 .265/.333/.385
July 3 - present     55 3.40 4.71 .276/.344/.430
Looking at the regulars, almost everyone is walking less than earlier in the season:
Walks As A Percentage of Plate Appearances
Player Apr 6 - May 6 May 7 - Jul 1 Jul 3 - present
Martin 11.9% 16.1% 6.6%
Loney 13.1% 7.1% 12.3%
Hudson 12.7% 8.1% 7.8%
Furcal 9.8% 9.2% 7.8%
Blake 10.5% 8.1% 12.7%
Manny 21.7% ----- 11.8%
Kemp 10.3% 7.8% 8.3%
Ethier 15.6% 8.1% 9.7%
Team Totals   12.3% 8.5% 8.6%

The Dodgers are 12th in the National League with 118 home runs this season.  Their run scoring relies a lot on sequential hitting, bunching hits and walks together, essentially avoiding outs (novel concept, I know).  For the Dodgers to get back to scoring runs, its time to be a little more patient at the plate.