After a slow start to the season the Los Angeles Dodgers offense has come alive in the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers lead baseball with a .470 slugging percentage and .810 on-base plus slugging.
Yasmani Grandal, Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner are primarily responsible for turning the offense around, though others have certainly contributed along the way. Among them being Joc Pederson, who’s quietly had a strong season after a poor showing in the second half of 2015.
While Chase Utley’s return to Citizens Bank Park, his two home runs, including a grand slam, was the focal point of the Dodgers’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, others chipped in.
Phillies starter Vince Velasquez faced Los Angeles a second time in as many starts. Just as he did on Aug. 9, he struck out the side in the first inning. Velasquez allowed 11 hits and nine runs in 4.2 innings at Dodger Stadium.
Velasquez tossed four scoreless innings on Tuesday before the Dodgers got to him. That prompted the right-hander to praise the depth of the Dodgers’ lineup, via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
“I can’t express how tough this team is,” Velasquez said. “Their approach is difficult.”
“I’m not perfect. I’m not [Clayton] Kershaw. It takes years to deal with a lineup like that and to be proficient. Tomorrow I’ll go back to the drawing board and watch film and just be consistent.”
Los Angeles scored five runs off Velasquez in the fifth and sixth innings off Velasquez. He surrendered home runs to Kendrick, Utley and Grandal during that span. The Phillies’ bullpen didn’t fare much better and the Dodgers’ 15 runs scored matched a season high.