The Dodgers' Offensive Barrage Is Carrying Them to the Playoffs
Baseball is a weird game.
How is it possible for an entire offense -- sometimes as many as 8 to 10 players -- to get hot and all start crushing the ball on the same day?
Perhaps a case study can be done on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who despite adding only Josh Reddick since their early-season offensive struggles, are suddenly tearing the cover off the ball. On Monday, they obliterated the Reds 18-9 in Cincinnati, pounding out 21 hits and slugging 7 home runs in the contest.
The Dodgers hit back-to-back home runs three separate times in the game. The last time that happened was April of 2014 when the Pittsburgh Pirates did it -- also in Cincinnati. The last time the Dodgers scored more than 18 runs in a game was in September of 2006, when they beat the Colorado Rockies, 19-11, with James Loney knocking in 9 runs that day.
On Monday, the man who did the most damage was first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who clubbed three dingers and knocked in eight runs. Andrew Toles, Rob Segedin, super-rookie Corey Seager, and Yasmani Grandal also went yard for Los Angeles.
Those seven team homers were the the most since September of 2006 against the San Diego Padres, and it fell one short of the team record. Four of those bombs came in one inning (the fifth).
For Gonzalez, it was his second career three-homer game, and his seven RBI's were a career high. He's now logged a hit in 15 straight games, seeing his batting average rise from .282 to .299.
.@Adrian_ElTitan for THREE: https://t.co/H60tNzbGM7 #ThrillOfTheGamehttps://t.co/h4ofpY3o9I
— MLB (@MLB) August 22, 2016
Seager, who will undoubtedly be the unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year, hit his 22nd bomb of the year, tying the single-season franchise record for home runs by a shortstop, which was done by Glenn Wright in 1930.
So, as you can see, it was a bit of a day for the Dodgers in Cincinnati. But the Dodgers have been doing this quite a bit in the second half of the season. Here are their numbers before the All Star break and after (MLB rank in parenthesis, not including Monday).
|1st Half||382 (19)||.241 (26)||.708 (25)||382 (19)||99 (18)||92 (21)|
|2nd Half||167 (9)||.273 (4)||.792 (3)||167 (9)||44 (13)||114 (2)|
And check out some of these second-half numbers among Dodgers regulars (not including Monday).
So, yeah, that's pretty much everybody on the team raking at the same time. In the second half, the Dodgers have scored six or more runs 14 times.
Did sending Yasiel Puig away help? Maybe. Certainly the addition of Reddick has lengthened the lineup. And Howie Kendrick's team-first attitude, willingness to move to the outfield and terrific performance at the plate, have made L.A. even more dangerous at the dish.
The Dodgers are going to need the offense to keep them afloat. Scott Kazmir is reportedly dealing with back and neck issues and a stint on the disabled list is a possibility. He lasted just 78 pitches and recorded only eight outs in Monday's win over the Reds. This comes as the team continues to try and cobble a rotation from the ashes and as the team hopes to get Clayton Kershaw back before the end of the regular season.
But make no mistake, no team in baseball is raking the way the Dodgers are. It seems as if every swing comes from the heels and no team in baseball swings the bat harder.
And they still have three more games this week at Great American Ballpark, which, coming into Monday, had allowed seventh-most homers per game this year.
Hide the women and children.