The Dodgers face three left-handed pitchers as they head into their series with the Padres this weekend. This comes with severe struggles the team has been battling when it comes to hitting against lefties.
The majority of the team is going to have to step up in order for the Dodgers to be successful this season. With A.J. Pollock’s recent elbow infection, there is hesitation about who can step up to hit left-handed pitching in the clubhouse. The Dodgers currently rank 18th in batting average against lefties.
The very reason Pollock was signed was because of his ability to hit left-handed pitchers. For his career, Pollock has an average off .277 against lefties, and .333 this season. He came into the season replacing Yasiel Puig who was hitting a career .249 against lefties, and only .209 last season.
With Pollock out, the rest of the Dodgers lineup needs to take a new approach.
The bright side is that most of LA’s lefty hitters have been performing rather well against southpaw pitchers. Alex Verdugo is hitting .364, Cody Bellinger .342, and Max Muncy .292, which are all great numbers.
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Their right-handed hitters, however, have not been able to perform the same. Chris Taylor has the highest avg. hitting .233, with Austin Barnes at the bottom with a .118 average. Taylor will be counted on even more with Pollock out for at least a month. Barnes mashed lefties in 2017 but has yet to return to his 2017 form.
Those two are joined with Justin Turner, Russel Martin, and David Freese, who are all hitting between those two numbers. With that being said, the Dodgers need more contributions from all of these players. With Pollock out, there will be an extra spot in the lineup every day for these players.
We already know that Joc Pederson’s bat is out of the question against left-handed pitching, therefore increasing the level of contribution they’ll need from those righties. Verdugo could finally get his chance against lefties but that is no guarantee.
The Dodgers currently are in first place and were the first team in baseball to reach 20 wins. However, if they have any intentions of winning yet another division title, they’ll need to start getting contributions all across the board against left-handers. Teams could once again try to stack southpaws against the Dodgers like the Padres did by inserting a sixth starter.