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Dodgers coming through in the pinch

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Scott Van Slyke hit a pinch-hit home run on Thursday.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers go for the series win on Sunday afternoon against the Rockies, looking for their 13th win in their last 16 games. One of the strengths of the Dodgers so far this season has been the pinch hitters, who are especially hot of late.

Pinch hitting is generally pretty difficult. Many times, the batter isn’t in an ideal situation, sometimes facing a fresh reliever out of the bullpen rather than a tired starter.

National League hitters as a whole this season are hitting .251/.321/.417. Pinch hitters are hitting .255/.330/.389.

Last year, over the entire season, the NL hit .254/.322/.412, and pinch hitters hit just .219/.303/.358.

Starting lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Rockies
Pos Dodgers Pos Rockies
CF Pederson (L) CF Blackmon (L)
SS Seager (L) 2B LeMahieu
3B Turner 3B Arenado
LF Bellinger (L) 1B Reynolds
C Grandal (S) LF Desmond
2B Taylor RF Gonzalez (L)
1B Utley (L) SS Valaika
RF Puig C Garneau
P Urias (L) P Senzatela
Time: 12:10 p.m. PT TV: SportsNet LA

In 2016, the Dodgers were near the bottom of the league in pinch hitting, batting just .189/.283/.285, 13th in the NL in batting average and OPS.

In 2017, Dodgers pinch hitters are batting a whopping .338/.419/.526, second in the NL in batting average and OPS. They have nine extra-base hits in 80 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, compared to 14 extra-base hits in 324 plate appearances last year.

The Dodgers have had contributions from quite a few players off the bench. Chris Taylor is 4-for-7 (.571) with a home run. Adrian Gonzalez is 3-for-4 (.750) with two walks, and Franklin Gutierrez is 3-for-5 with a double. Yasmani Grandal is 2-for-2 with a double and a walk, and Andrew Toles was 3-for-9 (.333) with a double and a walk before getting hurt.

Scott Van Slyke and Chase Utley both struggled to start their seasons, but in the last week have homered and doubled, respectively, as pinch hitters.

In May, Dodgers pinch hitters are 11-for-17 (.647) with four doubles, a home run, and a walk. In this series, they are 2-for-5 with a home run and a double.

Game info

Time: 12:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA