LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers return home amid several trade rumors, with the focus on pitching like Cole Hamels, David Price plus various relief pitchers. But as they begin a two-game series against the Athletics, the Dodgers need to pick their offense up off the mat.
The Dodgers are tops in the National League in wRC+ (112), which is adjusted for park and league, and are tied with San Francisco atop the NL in adjusted OPS+ (112). Unadjusted, the Dodgers are second to the Rockies in both OPS (.753) and wOBA (.329).
Yet the team is only fifth in the league with 4.13 runs scored per game.
Part of the disconnect is that the Dodgers are truly terrible on the bases. They have just 20 stolen bases, 18 fewer than the next-worst team (Washington), and have been caught 23 times, a horrific 46.5-percent success rate. The Dodgers are 26th in MLB in baserunning runs by Baseball Prospectus and 29th in MLB per FanGraphs, between 9.4 and 14.4 runs below average.
The other culprit is runners in scoring position.
In 2014 the Dodgers lead the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and had more plate appearances in that situation, not that it stopped anyone from complaining that the club couldn't hit in that situation.
This year, the Dodgers are hitting .260/.349/.419 with runners in scoring position, ranking 12th in batting average, seventh in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging percentage and eighth in OPS. Overall, the Dodgers are hitting .253/.328/.435, ranking 13th in batting average, fourth in OBP, fifth in slugging percentage, and fourth in OPS.
Their numbers with RISP aren't that far out of line with their overall numbers.
But the real problem is that the Dodgers have just 865 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, ranking 27th in MLB. They have batted with runners in scoring position in 23.2 percent of their plate appearances in 2015, after 27.9 percent last year.
The club scored just 37 runs in 10 games on the road, and are averaging just 3.67 runs per game in July.
Joc Pederson this month is hitting .185/.250/.284, and Howie Kendrick is hitting .232/.264/.280, both in 88 plate appearances. They hit first and second on most nights.
Yasiel Puig is hitting .187/.235/.347 in July, in 81 plate appearances.
They have to face Sonny Gray in the opener against Oakland. The right-hander is sixth in MLB with a 2.30 ERA.
The Dodgers are home, where they have excelled on offense in 2015. They have played 50 games at home and 50 games on the road this year, and are averaging 4.42 runs per game at Dodger Stadium and 3.84 runs elsewhere.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network