Corey Seager, 22, leads the Dodgers in home runs (14), runs batted in (35), hits (65) and runs (38) and enhanced his rookie-of-the-year candidacy with a two-homer, four-RBI effort in Sunday’s 12-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Rookie outfielder Trayce Thompson, 25, has muscled his way into a starting job and helped push veteran Carl Crawford off the roster with his .279 average, nine homers and 21 RBIs. Center fielder Joc Pederson, 24, ranks third on the team in homers (eight) and RBIS (26).
The three kids, who also share a Pasadena house together, have been more than all right, but the Dodgers can’t expect them to carry the bulk of the offensive load as they have for the first two months.
They need more consistent contributions from veterans such as Yasmani Grandal, Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, who all had a hand in a three-game sweep that moved the Dodgers (31-27) four games over .500 for the first time since April 25.
Kendrick, a career .293 hitter who is hitting .227, singled twice and drove in a run. Turner (.228) took Sunday off after collecting two hits and an RBI Saturday night.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in our clubhouse who thinks our offense is performing at a level it’s capable of,” said Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations.
“The good thing is the young guys are performing. The veteran guys who have established watermarks of production, I’ll bet those guys will emerge from it, and we’ll be a much more dynamic offense because of it.”
The Dodgers, who rank seventh in the National League in runs (252), 11th in average (.237) and 12th in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.693), feasted on Braves pitching Sunday.
A 14-hit attack featured hits by every starter, including two by pitcher Scott Kazmir, and Enrique Hernandez’s solo homer in the second. The Dodgers scored in six of eight innings, they drew six walks and went first to third on singles twice in the third. They went six for nine with runners in scoring position.
“It was good to have a little coming-out party,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “There were a lot of productive at-bats, some big hits throughout.”
Seager’s party at the plate has lasted for a month. He’s batting .325 (39 for 120) with 12 homers and 22 RBIs in 29 games since May 7. He followed Friday night’s three-homer game with a solo homer to center in the fourth inning Sunday, a bloop RBI single in the fifth and a two-run homer to right in the seventh.
“It’s kind of déjà vu,” Roberts said. “It keeps happening every day, and I could get used to it. He’s got a very sound, short swing and power to all fields. He can hit any pitch to any part of the ballpark. It’s special. There’s only a few guys who can do that. But it starts with his pitch recognition.”
Kazmir (5-3) recovered from a two-run, four-hit first to pitch five innings, giving up three runs and seven hits, striking out five and walking one. The left-hander departed in the sixth because of cramping in his left quadriceps, but he doesn’t expect it to affect his next start.
“Warming up before the game, it was tight, and I was unable to get my stride and direction the way I wanted it,” Kazmir said. “We worked on it between innings, and it started to loosen up, but once I ran the bases, it started tightening up a little more. … But I don’t think it will be something that lingers.”