One area the Los Angeles Dodgers have excelled in under manager Dave Roberts has been their attention to detail no matter what point of the regular season. Commitment to finer points of the game typically has the Dodgers ranked among the best defensively.
Like any team throughout the course of 162 games, however, L.A. has stretches where they can become somewhat lax in the field. They typically correct matters rather quickly, but that hasn’t been the case with their latest regression.
Friday’s series opener against the Miami Marlins marked a sixth consecutive game in which the Dodgers committed at least one error. Neither came back to cost them or Hyun-Jin Ryu, as he stranded both baserunners.
While Dodgers manager Dave Roberts couldn’t pinpoint the cause behind the sloppy stretch of defense, he voiced confidence the team would find their footing, via SportsNet LA:
“I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s kind of one of those things that we’re just in an elongated funk, I guess. We’ll get out of it. We’re a very good defensive club. It’s just one of those things right now that we’re in a funk.”
The Dodgers enter play Saturday having committed 70 errors on the season, which is the eighth-most in baseball. Though, their 71.8% Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER; rating of team defensive outs recorded in defensive opportunities) ranks second overall.
Last year, the Dodgers were 10th with 100 errors, and in 2017 they were even better, as their 88 errors were only 19th-most. After committing the fewest errors in 2015, the Dodgers were 24th in Roberts’ first season as manager.
Although there’s been a rise in the wrong direction, their struggles this year can in some part be traced to a commitment to positional flexibility. Joc Pederson is playing first base for the first time in his career, and Max Muncy has already logged a career-high 272.1 innings at second base. That’s been accompanied by five errors,
Though, Muncy’s biggest trouble has come at third base, where he’s made five errors in 196 innings. Muncy set a career high with 271.2 innings played at the hot corner last season.
Muncy leads the Dodgers with 13 errors thus far, and he’s followed by 10 from Seager. The shortstop has reached double-digits in each of his first two full seasons.
Despite a general lack of concern from Roberts, it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers soon complete infield and pitchers fielding practice prior to the team taking batting practice in the upcoming days.