Breaking down Dodgers struggles with runners in scoring position

There are no two ways about it — the Dodgers are in a slump. Los Angeles on Sunday fell to the Reds 4-1 in another putrid offensive effort that paved the way their fifth consecutive loss.

It’s a problem in itself that across their five-game losing skid the Dodgers have only plated 11 runs. They’re too talented for that kind of output. Part of the issue is they’re not hitting baseballs over the fence, but the bigger problem is their inability to produce with runners in scoring position.

Entering Sunday’s game the Dodgers were on an 0-17 hitless streak with RISP. They started Sunday 0-for-5 before Freddie Freeman finally broke the streak at 22 consecutive ABs.

The RBI knock for Freeman in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss wasn’t enough to erase what has been a dismal stretch for what should be one of MLB’s best offenses. 

In Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Diamondbacks that kicked off this five-game losing streak, the Dodgers were 2-for-10 with RISP. 

They followed that up with an 0-for-8 in a 6-0 loss to Arizona on Wednesday. 

LA actually began Friday’s series opener in Cincinnati by going 3-for-4 in those situations, but finished 3-for-14. 

Saturday didn’t provide any reprieve. The Dodgers lost 3-1 and went 0-for-7 with runners on second and/or third. 

The offensive nightmare continued Sunday with a 1-for-8 performance with runners in scoring position. 

In total LA is 6-for-47 (.127) with runners in scoring position during their five-game losing streak. And it has been largely a team effort in getting to those numbers. Here’s how each Dodgers player has fared with RISP during the five-game losing streak:

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Freddie Freeman: 1-8
Andy Pages: 1-8
Shohei Ohtani: 1-6
Will Smith: 1-6
Chris Taylor: 1-3
Mookie Betts: 1-2
Teoscar Hernandez: 0-4
Gavin Lux: 0-4
Kiké Hernandez: 0-2
Jason Heyward: 0-2
Miguel Vargas: 0-1
Miguel Rojas: 0-1

The good news for LA is they’re doing an okay job of getting runners on base. They’ve also found a ton of extra base hits, and when they don’t they’re using the run game effectively to put runners in scoring position.

Eventually some hits should start falling and the runs should start piling up again. For now though things are bleak. Part of the problem is that the back end of their order is struggling. LA’s 5-9 spots in the order went a combined 1-for-30 with two walks Saturday and Sunday. 

Getting runners on for Betts, who has only come up twice with runners in scoring position over the last five games, will help. But Ohtani and Freeman have to better in those spots too since they’ve gotten a ton of opportunities. And that’s the silver lining in this. One key fix for the Dodgers offense will simply be Ohtani, Freeman and Smith finding more hits in those spots. They’re all too good to continue struggling like this for long.

How long this cold streak continues in key spots is anyone’s guess, but given the talent up and down the Dodgers’ roster, it isn’t liable too last too much longer. 

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