MIAMI (AP) — With a middling .255 average and some serious scoring droughts, it’s fair to say the Los Angeles Dodgers have at times struggled offensively.READ MORE: Mega Job Fair In Sunrise, Companies Looking To Fill 6,000 Positions
It can also be said it has something to do with some holes in production at the top of the order.
And heading into Friday night’s opener in Miami, it’s imperative to say they might be wondering what their lineup would be doing with Dee Gordon leading off.
The .338 on-base percentage Los Angeles (41-33) has received from the top spot in the order is respectable and not terribly far off of the Marlins’ .368 mark. The Dodgers’ 39 runs scored from the leadoff spot are far from suitable, but Miami has only produced 40.
The difference comes in when shifting attention to raw hitting, where the Marlins lead the majors with 111 hits and a .346 average from the top of the order. The Dodgers, contrarily, have an MLB-low 62 hits from the leadoff spot and a .218 average, bringing to doubt whether they’ll be able to continue their comparatively high OBP in that slot without some more balls dropping in. The hitting has trended the other way over 20 games with their table-setters batting .183.
Gordon had 62 hits in 34 games through May 16, four of which came in 13 at-bats when the clubs met for three games in Los Angeles from May 11-13. The Dodgers took two of three and now visit their former second baseman in Miami for the first time having won seven of 11 there.
Los Angeles, seeking a third straight road win for only the second time this year, managed a split of four games in Chicago with Thursday’s 4-0 win after dropping the first two.
Jimmy Rollins had two hits, is 7 for 19 in five games and is batting .327 in his last 12 at Marlins Park. If he’s able to get going, he could be the answer at the top of the order.
“He’s looked good,” manager Don Mattingly told MLB’s official website. “He’s been working on things with his swing, using different parts of the field.”READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
The Dodgers didn’t start Yasiel Puig for both wins because of an open callus on his left hand, and it’s unclear if he’ll play Friday.
The Dodgers have limited opponents to nine runs in five games, and that span began with Brett Anderson holding San Francisco to a run and five hits in six innings of Sunday’s 10-2 home win.
Anderson (3-4, 3.29 ERA) has his season ERA matching the low he established on June 5, and after posting a 5.49 mark through four starts, the left-hander is 2-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 since the start of May.
He’s up against Justin Nicolino, whose MLB debut went glowingly in Saturday’s 5-0 win in Cincinnati. The left-hander limited the Reds to four hits while needing only 84 pitches to get through seven innings.
The 23-year-old got his shot because Tom Koehler has been experiencing neck and back stiffness, and Koehler is expected to follow him in the second game of the series..
“You know, these are good problems,” manager Dan Jennings said. “That’s what we’ve talked about this winter, is hopefully we have some of our young guys step forward with these veterans and somewhere over the course of this season. It will create tough decisions. That’s a good position to be in.”
Those comments, however, have been followed by four losses in large part due to a struggling lineup. After Thursday’s 5-1 home loss to St. Louis, the Marlins (30-44) have dropped seven of eight while averaging 2.1 runs and batting .202.
Even Gordon’s average has fallen in that span – from .357 to .351.MORE NEWS: COVID Cases Falling, But Winter Could Bring Trouble
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