There is no reason to call the past three days the new normal, not with the way the Dodgers' offense has clicked for the past two-plus months, but runs suddenly have been hard to come by. Clutch hitting has dried up considerably.
It was easy to ignore over the weekend since the Dodgers beat the team with the best record in baseball both Saturday and Sunday. The Cubs are known for their tough starting pitching staff, among other things, but the Dodgers did enough to pull out a 3-2 victory Saturday and a 1-0 decision Sunday.
But on Monday, at hitter-friendly Coors Field, the Dodgers' run-scoring issues continued. They lost 8-1 to the Rockies in the opener of a three-game series and have not scored a run on an RBI hit in 22 innings.
Adding to the concern Monday was star rookie shortstop Corey Seager getting hit by pitches on back-to-back at-bats, including on the left wrist in the seventh inning. Seager remained in the game and postgame X-rays on the wrist were negative.
"It always hurts when you get hurt and you never really know [how bad it is] until a couple of minutes later," Seager said. "It's one of those things where I'm glad it's not broken, and you move on."
Seager has been the Dodgers' steadiest performer all season. He was hitting well before the rest of the offense followed suit, sometime around the middle of June. His loss would have been a crippling blow to a team that just caught and passed the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings. Monday's defeat cut the Dodgers' lead to 1½ games.
The Dodgers' last RBI hit came on a Justin Turner single in the third inning Saturday. Turner was not in the lineup Monday as he was given a day of rest, with Rob Segedin taking over at third base. The Dodgers went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position Monday.
Was Monday's effort some kind of hangover from a successful series against the Cubs?
"There shouldn't be," Seager said. "[The Rockies] were good tonight and we weren't, and that's how it goes sometimes."
After a slow April, Seager started to take off in May, but it was Turner who was largely responsible for the Dodgers' offensive turnaround. He has crushed 20 home runs since June 10 alone. Following Turner's lead was Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal and Gonzalez for extended stretches.
But the group of Turner, Kendrick, Grandal and Gonzalez has gone 3-for-33 (.091) since Saturday's game. Small sample sizes do not make a trend, though, and the Dodgers still have two more games left at Coors Field in this series, including an afternoon game when the ball seems to jump even more here.
Jump-starting the offense again is certainly on the agenda, although Seager is not expected to play Tuesday. Manager Dave Roberts said he already planned to sit him against Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson.
Jon Gray led the charge for the Rockies on Monday with six scoreless innings, recording his first victory since beating the Dodgers earlier this month.
"[Gray] made pitches when he needed to," Roberts said. "We got the pitch count up and stressed him a little bit, got some baserunners on, but couldn't come away with that big hit. I thought Kenta [Maeda] threw the ball really well."
Over five innings, Maeda gave up two runs, both coming on a home run from Nick Hundley. But even with those runs, Maeda has only allowed four runs over 17 innings in three starts at Coors Field. The Dodgers moved the right-hander to Monday's game at Coors Field when he could have pitched Sunday against the Cubs.
But a lack of run support, along with six runs allowed by four Dodgers relievers, was the difference. Adam Liberatore took the brunt of the damage, giving up four runs on a walk and three hits in one-third of an inning.
The Rockies got the hits when they needed them and the Dodgers again did not, although Roberts is not ready to panic just yet.
"You know, there has been some good at-bats with runners in scoring position and there has been some not-so-good at-bats," Roberts said of the team's play of late. "I think that the last month we have been swinging the bats really well with guys in scoring position or not. The last few days it hasn't worked out, but I do believe it's cyclical. We're not going to read too much into it."