Among the goals the Los Angeles Dodgers had over the winter was acquiring a right-handed hitter who would provide a boost to an offense that greatly struggled against left-handed pitching last season. They ranked last in the Majors with a .213 batting average, .622 on-base plus slugging percentage, .275 wOBA and 72 wRC+.
The Dodgers seemingly found answers in Franklin Gutierrez and Logan Forsythe, but the team’s first look at a left-handed starter in 2017 yielded much of the same results from last year. Clayton Richard spun eight shutout innings on Tuesday night, inducing the Dodgers into four double plays. Three of which came within the first four innings.
Gutierrez and Forsythe did their part, combining for three of the Dodgers’ five hits. “Obviously, Logan had four really good at-bats against left-handed pitching,” manager Dave Roberts said.
“Guti, I thought had a good approach. Tonight was just one of those nights. Clayton Richard threw the ball well, kept it down and worked ahead. Quite honestly, if he was out there against any team, I think he would’ve had a lot of success.”
Although the Dodgers’ collective performance at the plate may have evoked memories of their 2016 season-long struggles against a southpaw, Roberts dismissed any connect. “Last year, yeah, we didn’t hit lefties,” he acknowledged. “But this year we have a completely different mindset.”
In addition to relying on Gutierrez and Forsythe to balance out the lineup, the Dodgers are hopeful healthy and bounce-back seasons from Kiké Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke will lead to improved results.