4 keys to the Dodgers' recent stretch of success ahead of Padres series
Since losing 13-0 to the Cubs on April 21 and falling to 10-11 on the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on an absolute tear. LA finished off that series by outscoring the Cubs 16-7 over the final two games, and won the first game of the following series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The offense then went cold for a stretch of two games, losing 8-1 and 6-2 to the Pirates. But since then, LA hasn't lost a game. The Dodgers' five-game winning streak was in danger against the Phillies on Wednesday after going down 5-0 early, but they rallied and came back to win 10-6 on a Max Muncy walk-off grand slam.
That being said, even with the two losses in Pittsburgh, the Dodgers are now 9-2 in their last 11 games and carry a six-game winning streak into a divisional clash against the San Diego Padres this weekend. No better time to be this hot.
So what's brought it all together for the Dodgers over the last week and a half?
The Dodgers have played more small ball
Despite ranking 13th in MLB with 21 stolen bases on the season through 32 games, the Dodgers have hit their stride when it comes to base-stealing during the last 10 games. Before the start of Wednesday's games, the Dodgers had stolen 12 bases in 10 games, a far cry from their six stolen bases in the first 21 games of the season. Those 12 stolen bases ranked third in MLB, only behind the Rays (14) and Pirates (21). The Dodgers added more to that tally on Wednesday, when David Peralta, Chris Taylor and Miguel Vargas all stole a base against the Phillies.
The big issue with the Dodgers' offense at the beginning of the season was that it was too home run dependent. When the Dodgers couldn't hit the long ball, they would struggle to win, but things have changed. Besides just stealing more bases, the Dodgers have made contact in the right situations. One game that personified the Dodgers' ability to put the ball in play at the right time was Sunday's 6-3 victory over the Cardinals. The Dodgers scored six runs in that game, but only one run scored as a result of a hit, which was a Chris Taylor RBI double. Three runs scored via RBI groundouts or fielder's choices, one run scored on a wild pitch, and the final run scored via sacrifice fly.
Gotta diversify the scoring portfolio!