It is no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers have struggled mightily against left-handed pitching since last season. In 2016 they ranked dead last against southpaws in nearly every key offensive category. Collectively, the Dodgers hit just .213.
The front office made some additions this past offseason to try to improve in that area, trading for Logan Forsythe and signing Franklin Gutierrez. Both have career success when facing left-handed pitching. Of course, at present time Forsythe and Gutierrez are on the disabled list.
Thus far the Dodgers have faced nine left-handed starters in their first 16 games, going 3-6 in those contests.
Despite the Dodgers still enduring their share of struggles, Yasmani Grandal embraces the challenge and believes the team will ultimately benefit from continuing to face lefties, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“It’s early in the season. You get us going, it’s going to come back to bite them,” Grandal said. “I think it’s great. I really do. I’m glad that they’re doing it. I take it as a challenge. Keep on doing it. It’s only going to make us better.”
The Dodgers lead the Majors this season in plate appearances against southpaws by a comfortable margin. While they’ve still struggled, there’s minimal improvement from last year’s statistics. Their on-base percentage has increased from .290 last season to .308 in 2017.
Part of the reason the Dodgers have continued struggled is because their everyday lineup is full of left-handed batters in Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson. Of that trio, Gonzalez and Seager receive the majority of opportunities, while Pederson often platoons.
Grandal is the team’s only switch hitter, but he has proven to be a much better left-handed hitter throughout his career.
On their seven-game road trip the Dodgers are scheduled to face three lefties in Arizona’s Robbie Ray (Saturday), and San Francisco’s Ty Blach (Tuesday) and Matt Moore (Thursday). Madison Bumgarner was slated to start Tuesday, but was placed on the 10-day disabled list after sustaining multiple injuries in a dirt bike accident.