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Home runs are curing the Dodgers’ ills

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Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Dodgers might be losing pitchers left and right but over the last few weeks they keep winning anyway, thanks in large part to a power surge on offense that’s been a long time coming.

Four different players hit home runs in Friday’s win over the Braves, including two by catcher Yasmani Grandal to give the Dodgers a season-high five homers on the night. The club has 22 home runs in seven games in June, after hitting 25 home runs in the entire month of April and 31 in all of May.

The Dodgers have hit three or more home runs nine times this season — all wins — and six of those games are in June. Their seven straight games with at least two home runs tied a franchise record, set in 2001.

After play on May 16 the Dodgers had 39 home runs in 42 games, tied for 13th in the 15-team National League, and they were 16-26.

Entering Saturday they are now tied atop the NL in home runs, thanks to 39 home runs in their last 21 games, and they are 16-5. The Dodgers are scoring 5.9 runs per game during that span, after 4.2 runs in the first 42 games.

The 2018 Dodgers

Split Wins HR
Split Wins HR
First 42 games 16 39
Last 21 games 16 39

Grandal’s leads all National League catchers with 11 home runs, one behind Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez for the major league lead. Both home runs by Grandal on Friday were hit off Brandon McCarthy, who threw 115⅔ innings to Grandal in 22 games when they were teammates on the Dodgers.

“That always helps a lot,” Grandal told Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA after the game. “I’ve always told the guys if I catch you for a long time, when you face me it’s going to be a battle.”

Grandal is now up to .249/.344/.476 on the season, third among NL catchers in wRC+ (127) behind Francisco Cervelli and JT Realmuto.

Also driving the power parade are Cody Bellinger, who has homered in four straight games, and Joc Pederson, with six homers in his last seven games. Bellinger was hitting .225/.298/.413 before his four-game stretch, and is now hitting .239/.320/.473, raising his OPS 83 points.

Pederson was hitting .244/.331/.382 after play in June 1. A week later he’s hitting .272/.345/.523, increasing his OPS 155 points.

The Dodgers franchise record for consecutive games with a home run is five, done five times, the last time by Pederson in 2015.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA