Dodgers Offense Has Great On-Base Skills, But Still Struggling Against Lefties, RISP

Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Utley

Judging the Dodger’s offense through the first nine games of the season is difficult to do. The hitting has been up and down. They’ve had some games where they’ve scored 10 or more runs and blown out the other club. Then there have been other games where they couldn’t score at all and were unable to even make contact.

The club has struggled against left handers again, Batting .217 with a .622 OPS against, ranking them 21 out of the 30 MLB teams. They crush right handers, batting .264 with an .864 OPS and 8 home runs in 163 at-bats. It’s still a small sample size, but the concern is there that the Dodgers still can’t hit left handed pitching and the problem was never addressed in the offseason.

So far through the first nine games of the season, the Dodgers are second in MLB with a .345 OBP. Overall they are 71 for 292 with a slash line of .243/.345/.414 with an OPS of .760. They rank 15 out of the 30 clubs in batting and seventh in OPS. The Dodgers have scored 44 runs which ties them for seventh in MLB.

They’ve hit pretty well at home. At Dodger Stadium they’ve put up a slash line of .262/.382/.500 with an .882 OPS and seven home runs in just 4 games played. On the road is a different story. They’re hitting just .229 away from Dodger Stadium, scored only 17 runs, and hit just 3 home runs.

What about hitting with runners in scoring position? Hitting with runners in scoring position is often called being “clutch”, or hitting in the clutch. That’s just an old baseball term that most people don’t use anymore. No matter what you call it, scoring runners when they are in position to score with base hits is as an art form that is old as time in MLB. It’s extremely important for winning games. Sometimes the hits just don’t fall in no matter how well you are spraying the ball to all fields.

The offense for the Dodgers this year has been somewhat lackluster in that department. The hits just haven’t been falling in and the Dodgers are fortunate to be getting such outstanding pitching. No matter how good the pitching is, you still have to score runs to win games. The Dodgers are simply not scoring enough.

The Dodgers are hitting .229 with runners in scoring position which ranks them 16 out of the 30 clubs. Their OPS (.775) with RISP has them rated 13 out of the 30 clubs. The main thing to remember is that they are getting a lot of guys on base. Eventually they’ll start to drive more of them in. The Dodgers are doing this with a patient eye and keen on base skills. The Dodgers have a 12% BB rate which is tops in MLB. The Dodger offense has a 109 wRC + for all you nerds out there, and that overall production places them tied for eighth. The Dodgers are also batting .342 in the lead-off spot, thanks to Andrew Toles and Logan Forsythe.

Despite the Dodger’s struggles against left handers and hitting with runners in scoring position, the on base skills are good. The Dodgers are getting a lot of guys on base and have excellent walk rates. The point here is not to look at the bad, but to look at the good. Getting a lot of guys on base is key to scoring runs and eventually the Dodgers will start to get more of the boys home. Hopefully they can do that against left handers and right handers.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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2 thoughts on “Dodgers Offense Has Great On-Base Skills, But Still Struggling Against Lefties, RISP

  1. Mc Carthy fails on a sacrifice in Game 2, Ryu looks like he has never practiced it
    in Game 3. Possible lost run in each instance.

    One of the things I looked for the few times (until playoffs) I saw them last year
    was better fundamentals. Did not regularly see them.

    Not a credit to the new manager and coaches.

    Chase was my fav with Phillies. A good addition early last year; not late. A poor
    decision this year….in spite of great hustle play last night:-).

    Dodgers, y’know, with all the breath-taking “depth” – do not field a major league
    lineup against lefties (this is not a complaint against platooning, seen WAY too often here,
    but a complaint about the quality of the platoons).

    1. Well, like one of us said, if the platoons were working, nobody would be questioning the strategy.

      Fundamentals? They’ve been missing for a long time. Kiké did back up third today. He was a little late getting there, he should break on contact, but he prevented a run.

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