Dodgers: How the Club is Crushing Left-Handed Pitching

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08: Cody Bellinger
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08: Cody Bellinger /

The Dodgers head into the All-Star break with 61 wins and a commanding 8.5 lead in the National League West. Part of that success can be attributed to much better hitting against left-handed pitching in 2017.

The entire league had their laugh last year. “The Dodgers can’t hit left handed pitching” was probably the most heard phrase on the home stretch of the 2016 season. Unfortunately for Dodger fans, that was all too true. The team struggled to a .213 batting average against lefties, good for dead last in all of baseball.

They couldn’t even hit for power against them, ranking 26th in the league in home runs off of left-handed pitching. Those horrendous numbers haunted the Dodgers even into the playoffs, resulting in a combined .195 batting average with only two home runs off southpaws and an earlier exit from the postseason than initially expected.

Team President Andrew Friedman and company had a major goal in mind for the 2017 roster, and that was to hit lefties much better than last year. Friedman has assembled a team of no huge names, rookies and perennial All-Stars to form one of the most potent offenses imaginable. And the team has entirely turned the tide on hitting left-handed pitching.

As a whole, the squad boasts a .262 average, good for 10th in baseball and 6th in the National League. Not exactly world series type numbers, but a far cry from the season before. The club’s on-base percentage against lefties is up to .348, which is good for 4th in baseball and 2nd in the National League.

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Pretty simple sabermetrics there, getting on base more leads to more runs. The real numbers that catch your attention are slugging percentage and OPS. In both categories, they lead the National League thus far. They also have 42 home runs against left-handers, which puts them at the top of the MLB in that category. There’s no doubt this is a team that has embraced the long ball.

So what’s the formula for this team? What put it all together and made the offense run so smoothly?

Well, Justin Turner is certainly leading the comeback charge against southpaws in 2017. Turner is hitting an astounding .427 against lefties and has pounded eight of his ten home runs off southpaws. The front office acquired Forsythe for this exact purpose, and he’s returned a highly productive .386 average. But the production has been much bigger than the big name signings and acquisitions.

Pleasant surprise Chris Taylor touts a .365 batting average against lefties. Surprisingly even rookie sensation Cody Bellinger is crushing lefties with a .260 mark and six home runs. All-Star Corey Seager has been incredibly productive against lefties despite being a left-handed hitter, turning in a .319 average over the first half.

Next: Dodgers and Yankees Renewed Rivalry

Coming out of the break, the Dodgers will face only two teams with winnings records in their next 13 series. With 23 series remaining on the year, the Dodgers only play 8 of them against teams who currently possess a winning record. Look for Los Angeles to keep up their hot hitting against left-handed pitching, as well as their insane winning streak for the remainder of the season.