The Los Angeles Dodgers arrive in Pittsburgh winners in seven of their last eight games and coming off yet another successful week. The Dodgers faced a pair of American League Central teams, sweeping the Chicago White Sox and taking two of three against the Detroit Tigers.
Dating back to Aug. 7, a two-week stretch, Los Angeles has gone 8-3 and still hasn’t lost a series since June 5-7 to the Washington Nationals.
Let’s look back at the stretch and identify which players are trending up and those who struggled during the span.
Joc Pederson: It was another rough two weeks for Pederson, whose slump reached the midway point of August.
Over his last 26 plate appearances, Pederson slashed .083/.154/.250 with two total hits — both doubles — good for a -13 wRC+.
The news got worse for Pederson, as he was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City as a result of the Dodgers’ acquisition of veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Perhaps some time in the Minors will be beneficial for the 25-year-old, who’s trying to perfect a new batting stance.
Yasiel Puig: In 38 plate appearances (11 games), Puig hit .143/.368/.179 with one extra-base hit, but drew more walks (10) than strikeouts (seven).
Puig’s .190 BABIP indicates he went through some tough luck during the stretch as well, but at the very least, he still managed to get on base at a high clip.
Justin Turner: Turner has statistically been one of the Majors’ best hitters all season long and his recent two-week showing only adds to that notion.
In 48 plate appearances, Turner posted a .279/.333/.605 batting line with three doubles and a club-leading four home runs and 10 RBI.
Turner added seven runs and a stolen base, while drawing four walks (one intentional) to just two strikeouts.
Cody Bellinger: Bellinger’s historic rookie campaign has carried over into August, with the 22-year-old hitting .375/.474/.656 over his last 38 plate appearances, with two home runs.
Bellinger ranked first on the team in wRC+ (198), wOBA (.472) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.030).
Bellinger exited Saturday’s game with a mild right ankle sprain, but is expected to return to the lineup within the new few days.
Chris Taylor: One of the biggest surprises of the year continued his torrid display at the plate, slashing .297/.422/.541 with three doubles and two home runs in 45 plate appearances.
Taylor has tallied 0.6 WAR (FanGraphs) over the last two weeks — tied with Bellinger for the team lead — and his versatility on the field was especially valuable, making starts at shortstop and center field during the past weekend alone.
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Ryu has logged 10 innings pitched in a pair of starts over the previous two weeks, posting an excellent 2.70 ERA.
The left-hander limited his home runs (0.9 per nine innings) and accumulated 0.2 fWAR during the period.
Alex Wood: Over his last 13 innings pitched, Wood owns a 2.08 ERA and 3.83 FIP — stranding 98 percent of the base runners that reached against him.
While his strikeouts were down (6.9 per nine), Wood restricted walks to the tune of a 0.7 per nine innings and contributed 0.2 fWAR since the beginning of August.
Yasmani Grandal: While Grandal is batting just .217 over his last 28 trips to the plate, the switch-hitter is additionally sporting a .357 on-base percentage and .565 slugging percentage during the span — good for a .922 OPS.
Austin Barnes: It was another efficient two-week stretch for Barnes, who put up a slash line of .375/.444/.438 with one double in 18 plate appearances. The 27-year-old struck out just once and drove in four RBI while scoring a pair of runs.
Kenley Jansen: The all-time Dodgers saves leader has pitched to a minuscule 1.50 ERA and 2.80 FIP over his last six innings, striking out 13.5 batters per nine innings and racking up five more saves in the process.
Kenta Maeda: Though Maeda’s overall numbers weren’t appealing during the two-week timeframe (4.41 ERA and 4.12 FIP in 16.1 innings; three starts), he led the pitching staff with 0.3 fWAR and carried a perfect game through five frames against the Tigers.