Dodgers hope road trip solves recent futility at plate
By Jack Baer
Special to MLB.com |
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw's magic didn't stop at holding the Padres scoreless for nine innings. It extended to covering up yet another weak showing from the Dodgers' offense, which got its only RBI from Kershaw as the team won 1-0.
The Dodgers managed just three hits off Padres starter Drew Pomeranz. No hitter in the first five spots of the lineup reached base. If it weren't for Kershaw's RBI single to score batterymate A.J. Ellis from second, the game might have been scoreless through nine innings.
"We got one run, because [Kershaw] drove it in," manager Dave Roberts said. "It's kind of a Little League game, where you get a hit to win the game and you go nine innings and you punch out 14."
It was an offensive showing that put a final stamp on a homestand in which runs were few and far between. The offense averaged 1.7 runs per game, never scored more than three in a game and was 3-for-39 with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers lineup is presently a laundry list of less-than-fun facts. Adrian Gonzalez is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. Howie Kendrick is slugging .143 (8-for-58) with no extra-base hits. Yasiel Puig went 2-for-24 during the homestand, and one of those hits was a 44-mph bloop that somehow found infield grass.
Roberts has preached patience as the team fights its offensive woes, evidenced by Gonzalez, Kendrick and Puig hitting third, fifth and first in Sunday's lineup, respectively. His hope is that a change of scenery will do good for the bats.
"Maybe a day off, get on the East Coast, get on the road, we might come alive," Roberts said. "[Pomeranz] was really good today. In light of how we've been struggling offensively, it's more magnified."
Kershaw and Roberts were both laudatory of Pomeranz after the game, with Kershaw saying the breaking ball was as good as he's seen in a long time, and Roberts comparing Pomeranz's stuff to Jose Fernandez, who got a win over the Dodgers earlier in the week.
Pomeranz is the first of three straight southpaws the Dodgers will face with the Rays' talented pitchers Matt Moore and Drew Smyly upcoming. To start a winning streak, they will likely have to do better than they did against Pomeranz.
But for now, the Dodgers finally have a win, thanks to Kershaw and some help from Ellis on the basepaths and behind the plate. That might just be what they need to break the cycle of frustration and disappointment that has plagued them for days.
"It's great to get back in the win column," Ellis said. "Now we can all take the breath and enjoy the off-day. Get on the plane together, get over to Tampa and that side of the [country], and work from there."
Jack Baer is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.