Kemp is striking out at an alarming rate in 2014.
Dodgers hitters have struck out an unconscionable 145 times through 16 games. Among National League teams, only the New York Mets (150) have struck out more.
Last I checked, nobody is expecting the Mets to be playoff contenders, let alone be included on the short list of World Series favorites.
Unfortunately, this is one of those negative stats that Dodgers fans are going to have to live with for as long as the core of this lineup stays together.
L.A.’s top eight hitters, including Dee Gordon, Carl Crawford, Puig, Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe, are all players who routinely post high K rates. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire wasn’t exactly a high-contact hitter during his playing days, so it’s unlikely that his tutelage will solve the problem.
The Dodgers have spent lavishly to build one of the league’s toughest lineups. That toughness manifests itself in the form of a group of aggressive hitters, most of whom can change the course of a game with one swing of the bat.
The Dodgers hitters will be better off, on balance, if they maintain their aggressive edge. However, it would behoove them to take a few more pitches when Gordon is on base.
While Gordon’s 10 stolen bases (in 11 attempts) lead the majors, the total could be higher if the hitters behind him were more patient. It’s been frustrating to watch Crawford in particular foul off bad pitches while Gordon was attempting to steal second base.
The situation is even more frustrating to watch knowing that Crawford was a former elite base stealer himself. Take one for the team, Carl. You’re better than that.