There is rarely one single reason behind a baseball team’s success. The 2017 Dodgers can certainly point to several factors for their unprecedented run to the postseason: the resurgence of Yasiel Puig, several young Dodgers simultaneously competing for the team MVP title, and season-long, magnificent performances from their starting pitchers.
The team’s propensity for late inning comebacks has become legend, but there’s a key reason underlying many of these come-from-behind victories that has been overlooked…the Dodgers offense is unbelievably efficient when behind by two out. Having two out is usually a morale and momentum-builder for the defense. Two out traditionally kills a lot of offensive rallies, but not for this team. Two out has instead become a call to action and it’s sparking Dodgers runs like never before.
We don’t need to look any further than last night’s game against the White Sox for a perfect example of their resiliency and clutch hitting in that very situation. The Dodgers and Sox were tied at one in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and the bases loaded, Logan Forsythe grounded to third, and Cody Bellinger was forced at home for the second out. The bases reset to being loaded, and the Dodgers were about to stun the White Sox as they have every other team they’ve faced.
Joc Pederson was hit by a pitch to bring in the go-ahead run. The way he’s been (not) hitting these days – that probably saved the inning. Austin Barnes pinch hit and brought in two more runs with a single. The Dodgers proceeded to load the bases for the third time in the inning, and Corey Seager singled in two more. The Dodgers racked up three singles and five runs in the inning, all with two out. And it was not unusual.
The Dodgers slash line with two out and RISP as a team reads: .250/.386/.429 and an .815 OPS.
Many viewed the recent Dodgers vs Diamondbacks series as a preview of a possible postseason matchup. For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at the Dbacks team stats in the same situation.
Arizona Diamondbacks with two out and RISP: .227/.333/.396/.729
The Dodgers lead by 23 points in team BA, more than 50 points in OBP, 33 points in slugging, and bat almost 90 points higher in OPS. It’s not even close.
How do the Dodgers line up individually? (Batting with two out and RISP):
Corey Seager: .406/.525/.781/1.306
Austin Barnes: .343/.484./.583/1.067
Chris Taylor: .325/.438/.550/.988
Yasiel Puig: .290/.436/.581/1.017
Logan Forsythe: .286/.500/.393/.893
Justin Turner: .269/.472/.462/.934
Joc Pederson: .235/.409/.471/.880
Even Adrian Gonzalez, who has missed much of the season, but who is expected back very soon, ranks high in these stats. He’s second on the team, right behind Seager with a .385/.467/.462/.928 slash line.
Surprisingly, Dodger pitchers are also putting up pretty good numbers in this batting situation (Kenta Maeda is the best), and perhaps more eye-opening, Cody Bellinger’s stats are dead last among starters and bench players in the same category. You can view all of the Dodgers’ stats here.
Six Dodgers starters get on base 45 – 75% of the time and have comparable slugging percentages in one of the toughest batting situations that exists. Stack the chips against this team and they come away winners much more often than it should be humanly possible. These stats are the embodiment of the Dodgers’ “never say die” philosophy.
Two outs? No problem. The Dodgers are just getting started.