The Dodgers finish off their four-game, three-day series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Wednesday night, fresh off the afterglow of Alex Guerrero's game-winning grand slam, one of the team's most memorable moments in recent years. But the Dodgers' offense isn't all about the long ball.
Yes, the Dodgers lead the majors with 73 home runs.
Those home runs have driven home 117 runs, 49.2 percent of the Dodgers' 238 runs on the season. At 4.58 runs per game, the Dodgers rank fifth in the majors in scoring, and second in the National League.
Is the club too reliant on home runs to score? I suppose in the sense that ideally we'd all like any offense to be well-rounded. But it's not like the Dodgers' hitting home runs make them more likely to slump, as they were for over two weeks before coming to Denver. And it's not like teams that don't really on home runs as much don't also slump.
Worrying about hitting too many home runs seems almost as silly to me as were last year's complaints about the Dodgers hitting with runners in scoring position — when they led MLB in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and plate appearances with RISP — or about their numbers with the bases loaded — when that accounted for just over two percent of the team's total plate appearances, and whose numbers were also included in the MLB-best RISP numbers.
The Dodgers offense this season is second in the majors with 193 walks, and first in the National League. They are sixth in MLB in doubles (95), third in the NL. The lead MLB in on-base percentage (.339), too.
Even if we removed all 73 home runs from the Dodgers this year, as if those at-bats never even happened, the Dodgers are hitting .227/.313/.295 as a team, fourth in the theoretical homerless NL in OPS, third in on-base percentage, and sixth in slugging percentage.
Even without home runs, the Dodgers offense is producing just fine this season.
But guess what? Those home runs still count, and it turns out are pretty beneficial, too!
The Dodgers offense on Wednesday night will face Chad Bettis, who has yet to allow a home run in 27⅓ innings this season. The Rockies right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA in four starts, and has lasted at least eight innings in each of his last two starts.
In his last start, Bettis took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Friday in Philadelphia, settling for two hits allowed in eight shutout frames. he has 22 strikeouts and six walks this season, including 14 and two over his last two starts.
Mike Bolsinger has also been stingy with the home run ball this season, allowing just one in five starts. Bolsinger has allowed four runs in his five major league starts this season, with 25 strikeouts and nine walks in 31⅓ innings.
But will Bolsinger's curve and slider — pitches that he has thrown a combined 48 percent of the time this season — break as well in the high altitude of Denver? This is his first career start at Coors Field, so we'll find out soon enough.
Time: 5:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, ESPN2