Chris Taylor did not start in Wednesday’s series finale in San Francisco, though he did fill in the final six innings at shortstop after Miguel Rojas left with a hamstring camp. Taylor walked on Wednesday, but the Dodgers utility man will now have to wait until at least Friday for his next hit.
Taylor struck out all three times he batted on Tuesday, including with the bases loaded and nobody out in a pivotal moment in the sixth inning. On the season, Taylor has three hits in 33 at-bats and has 15 strikeouts in 36 plate appearances, a 41.7-percent strikeout rate well above last year’s 35.2-percent rate that was by far his worst to date.
He talked about his struggles after Tuesday’s game with reporters in San Francisco.
“I mean, I have my days where I feel good in BP and in the cage, and then just not translate it over to the game. Sometimes that’s mechanics. Sometimes it’s just pitch selection or approach.”
“I feel like, mechanically, I was in not the best spot (to start),” Taylor said. “Even if it’s trending upwards, I’m still not quite right.”
Last year, Taylor had his worst year as a regular, hitting .221/.304/.373 with a 93 wRC+. He was also coming off offseason elbow surgery, and missed a month with a broken foot during the season, hitting just .193/.278/.313 with a 72 wRC+ over the final two months once his foot healed.
But this season, Taylor is healthy, and the slump continues, as he’s filled in at shortstop, left field, and third base. Playing time will still come, says manager Dave Roberts. From Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times:
“He’s going to get going offensively,” Roberts said before Tuesday’s game. “Hits have been hard to come by for him, even when he’s squaring the baseball up. But I’m going to keep running him out there when I get a chance.”
The Dodgers face Cubs left-handers Justin Steele and Drew Smyly this weekend, and potentially face three southpaws during the six-game homestand — more on that a bit later today — so maybe Taylor’s chances to snap out of his slump will come in those games, or maybe others depending on the extent of the Rojas injury.
Zach Buchanan at The Athletic wrote about the rise of MLB teams promoting their minor league players online, usually through a Twitter account that will share highlight videos. Though not all orgs are on board:
“We’re always focused on the task at hand, and that’s getting the guys better,” the farm director says. “That’s what our players focus on, on a day-to-day basis. In the end, if that gets you praise and accolades from outside, that’s great. But I don’t think that should be or is a focus for us.”
The Dodgers and Giants might have more familiarity than animosity these days, but the rivalry remains. Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times wrote about the two teams’ first meeting of 2023.
Mike Petriello at MLB.com looked at the rise in stolen bases with new rules. Among his finds is how the stealing success rate is specifically up after one mound disengagement, and how steals of third base have become a lot easier.
Old friend Corey Seager strained his left hamstring in Tuesday’s game for the Rangers, and is expected to miss at least four weeks, per Schuyler Dixon at the Associated Press.
Add Salt Lake City to the list of cities vying for a Major League Baseball expansion team, with Gail Miller — longtime owner of the Jazz in the NBA — among the group looking to add an MLB team to Utah. Jeff Passan at ESPN has details.