“Chick dig the longball”- Greg Maddux, a very wise man and supreme knower of ball, whether it be the mid-90s or 2022.
If the Los Angeles Dodgers want to win another World Series, they’d better hit the weight room as they await the San Diego Padres’ arrival in the NLDS.
Postseason baseball is upon us, and a key component of future success will be the Dodgers’ ability to knock the ball out of the park. The Dodgers were third in NL with 212 home runs, a key indicator they can hit the ball out, but as anyone will tell you, the regular season doesn’t translate to the postseason.
In the 2021 postseason, 49.8% of the runs scored were on a home run, compared to just 42.7% in the regular season. The team that out-homered their opponent went 25-2; already this postseason, teams that out-homered their opponents are 5-2.
So where is the power going to come from the Dodgers?
During the regular season, batters 1-2 in the Dodgers lineup homered on 15.5% of their hits, 3-6 homered on 14.5%, and 7-9 homered on 14.9%. That is a well-balanced lineup that proves anyone can bring the power when needed.
The Dodgers are almost equally balanced when it comes to punishing their opponents’ pitching staffs. The Dodgers homer against starters 16% of the time, while homering against the bullpen 13% of the time. This is key, as the Dodgers will be facing the best starters and bullpens from the regular season all playoffs long, and getting to both parts of the staff will ensure success in October.
The Dodgers are equally adept at getting to pitching early and late in a game. In innings 1-3, the Dodgers hit 88 home runs while collecting a .814 OPS. After the seventh inning, the Dodgers hit 60 home runs, and when the game was late or close, they slugged 19 home runs, showing the team could be clutch.
The good news is that the Dodgers found the San Diego Padres’ domain, Petco Park, to be a happy homer land in 2022, hitting 14 home runs in the nine games they played there this season.
The Dodgers have shown they have a balanced lineup that can hit home runs 1-9, and they are equally adept at getting to starters and relievers either early or late in a game. The Dodgers should have no problem flexing their muscles this postseason, but as with all things postseason-related, there are no guarantees when it comes to October baseball.