A common criticism of the Los Angeles Dodgers over recent seasons was their boom or bust offense that would encounter trouble during the postseason. Perhaps no more was that evident than in 2018 and 2019.
The Dodgers effectively needed two separate lineups based on the opposing pitcher’s handedness in 2018. They nevertheless reached the World Series for a second consecutive year, only to fall to the Boston Red Sox in five games.
Then after breaking a franchise record with 106 wins the following year, the Dodgers stalled in October and were eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.
Of course, L.A. proved to be a complete offense last year and one capable of thriving with two outs en route to winning the World Series. They have carried much of that success over into the 2021 regular season as well.
A baserunning mistake took a home run away from Cody Bellinger on Opening Day, so the Dodgers did not hit their first long ball until the third game of the season despite playing at Coors Field.
Making it all the more strange was the first home run came by Zach McKinstry on an inside-the-park effort in the third game of the season. The Dodgers have since added to their total and enter play Friday with seven homers, which is tied for 14th in baseball.
The Dodgers have double-digit hits in five of seven games thus far, and rank first in total hits (80) and on-base percentage (.409). They are second in walks (40), team batting average (.310), wOBA (.392) and wRC+ (151).
Additionally, the Dodgers rank third in doubles (18), and fourth in slugging (.492).
“Come on, media. You guys should love this,” Justin Turner quipped last week. “We’re not just relying on the home run ball. How many times have we heard that in the past? This is a well-rounded offense that can beat you in a lot of ways.
“It’s not just about sitting back and hitting homers.”
Turner has one of the Dodgers’ seven home runs, he’s tied for the team lead with seven RBI and tied for second with nine hits. Dating back to last season he’s reached safely in 37 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the Majors.
Dodgers excited for fans, World Series ring ceremony
Several players have discussed the World Series ring ceremony that’s being held pregame Friday, but there also is excitement to welcome fans back to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are expecting an estimated 15,000 in attendance, which is 28% of Dodger Stadium’s capacity.
“Playing in front of Dodger fans again is going to be fun, and obviously getting our rings,” Chris Taylor said this week. “But I think mostly looking forward to just playing in front of our home crowd, seeing their reaction and getting back in that environment again.”
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