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Dodgers season becoming a walk in the park

LA last led the National League in walks 56 years ago

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers scored in two different innings in Tuesday night’s win over the White Sox, with both rallies aided when Yasiel Puig walked with one out to loaded the bases.

Puig’s two free passes gave him 49 on the season, on pace for 67, which would match his career high set in 2014. Puig’s walk rate in 2017 is 11.6 percent, the best of his career, and his above his 9.3-percent lifetime mark.

After Puig’s walk in the sixth inning, Logan Forsythe drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly. After Puig’s walk in the eighth, the Dodgers erupted for five runs, all scored with two outs, to secure the win. For Puig, the walks came in his first game moving up in the lineup, from eighth to sixth.

“I think he responded very well,” manager Dave Roberts said, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. “It’s something that rightfully he’s earned, and you look at his at-bat quality tonight: very good.”

Cody Bellinger also walked twice on Tuesday, and scored the Dodgers’ first run. Bellinger is up to 46 walks on the season, four shy of select company. The last major league player with at least 30 home runs and 50 walks in his age-21 season or younger was none other than Mike Trout, who hit 30 home runs and walked 67 times as a 20-year-old in 2012.

Dodgers walk rates

Player 2017 Career
Player 2017 Career
Logan Forsythe 15.8% 9.0%
Justin Turner 11.3% 8.2%
Corey Seager 12.6% 10.0%
Kiké Hernandez 12.3% 9.7%
Yasiel Puig 11.6% 9.3%
Chris Taylor 9.5% 8.2%
Chase Utley 9.9% 9.2%
Cody Bellinger 11.2% 11.2%
Joc Pederson 11.3% 14.2%
Yasmani Grandal 7.0% 12.9%
Minimum 200 plate appearances

The list of 21-year-olds (or younger) with 30 home runs and 50 walks is a who’s who. The last seven to do it — Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, and Tony Conigliaro.

In all, the Dodgers walked six times on Tuesday, the 46th time they have walked at least five times, the most in the majors. They are 41-5 in those games.

Of the 10 Dodgers with at least 200 plate appearances in 2017, eight have higher walk rates than their career numbers. Forsythe leads the club at 15.8 percent, well ahead of his 9-percent career mark.

With 481 walks on the season, the Dodgers lead the majors in walks by a wide margin. The Yankees are second, with 36 fewer walks. In the National League, the Cubs are second, with 41 fewer walks.

The Dodgers haven’t led the majors in walks since the 1953 Brooklyn club did it, a team that has come up quite a lot this season. You might remember them as the last Dodgers team to reach 50 games over .500, until these 2017 Dodgers reached that on Tuesday.

The Dodgers haven’t even led the National League in walks since 1961.

Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have led the NL in walks twice — 1959 and 1961 — and finished second five times -- 1960, 1978, 1991, 2014 and 2015.

With 481 walks on the season, the Dodgers are on pace for 660, which would challenge the club record since moving to Los Angeles. The 2000 Dodgers walked 668 times, though that total was only good enough for fifth in the NL.

Reaching 650 walks would put the Dodgers in select company in franchise history. It’s a mark they reached just six times, topping out at 732 walks in 1947. The top of the walk list is littered with the Boys of Summer teams, with 1946, 1947, 1952, 1953, and 1955 all walking at least 650 times, and the 1956 team walked 649 times for good measure.