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Home runs are down in 2021, but especially so for the Dodgers

LA scoring 38% of runs off homers in 2021, compared to 51% last year

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Chris Taylor’s home run Friday provided all the scoring for the Dodgers, but long balls have been few and far between this season for Los Angeles.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Dodgers have found their offense of late, tops in the National League in runs per game (5.50) and wRC+ (118) in May. But they aren’t really hitting home runs, tied for eighth in the NL with 20 home runs in 18 games this month.

With Cody Bellinger currently on a rehab assignment in Albuquerque with Triple-A Oklahoma City and having not played in the majors since April 5, it’s easy to see at least one reason why the Dodgers aren’t hitting as many long balls this year.

In 2020, when the NL had a designated hitter, the Dodgers led the majors in both runs and home runs, and scored more than half of their runs via the homer. This year, with home runs down, they aren’t getting nearly as many runs from home runs, even relative to the league.

Dodgers & home runs

Year Runs/gm HR/gm MLB HR/g HR runs HR runs %
Year Runs/gm HR/gm MLB HR/g HR runs HR runs %
2020 5.82 1.97 1.28 179 51.3%
2021 5.02 1.13 1.15 86 38.1%

That said, every Dodgers run scored in the last two games came via the home run. Chris Taylor’s two-run shot provided all the Los Angeles scoring on Friday, while Will Smith and his childhood idol Albert Pujols accounted for all the runs on Thursday.

The Dodgers have homered in each of their last eight games in San Francisco, but the biggest reason why they’ve won eight of their last nine road games against the Giants is the pitching.

One run allowed on Friday was the second-most Dodgers pitching has allowed in their last six games in San Francisco. Here’s the Dodgers runs allowed in every game in San Francisco dating back to 2019, in reverse chronological order: 1, 0, 0, 10, 0, 0, 2, 0, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3.

Trying to keep that going on Saturday is Walker Buehler, who has never lost in San Francisco. He pitched one inning in relief against the Giants on the road in a Dodgers win in 2017, but in four starts in 2018-19 he’s 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA at Oracle Park.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers at Giants

Location: Oracle Park, San Francisco

Time: 4:15 p.m. PT

TV: Fox