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Dodgers are thriving in the 2nd and 3rd innings

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LA has outscored opponents by 46 runs in the second and third innings combined

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
After a Mookie Betts triple on Thursday night, Justin Turner homered. It was the third inning.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Dodgers enter play on Friday having outscored their opponents by 77 runs this season, second-best in the majors, two runs behind the Padres, who lead them by a half-game in the National League West.

Each of the first eight innings has seen the Dodgers outscore their opponent on the season, with only the ninth inning (seven runs scored, 11 allowed) and extras (10 for, 11 against) in the red. But the bulk of the damage has come early, in the second and third innings.

In the second inning the Dodgers have scored 38 runs in 50 games, tied for most in the majors, while allowing only 12 runs. The third inning has been nearly as advantageous in aggregate, scoring 35 while allowing 15. Both Dodgers differentials are second-best in the majors by only a run, with the White Sox outscoring foes by 27 in the second and the Twins besting their opponents by 21 in the third.

On offense, a couple players stood out in the second and third innings:

  • Justin Turner: 11 for 26, six extra-base hits, .423/.531/.962
  • Mookie Betts: 11 for 30, seven extra-base hits, .367/.500/.700

This came into play on Thursday night, when Betts tripled with two outs in the third against Alex Wood, then Turner followed with a two-run home run to open the scoring. Four of Turner’s nine home runs this season were hit in the third inning.

Anthony Desclafani saw first hand the Dodgers proclivity for scoring early last Sunday in San Francisco. The Giants right-hander entered the game having allowed 12 total runs in nine starts, but the Dodgers put a 10-spot on him. Three runs came in the second inning, and seven more in the third.

That rally came without Betts — who did not play on Sunday, dealing with left shoulder soreness — and with Turner making two of the three outs in the third.

I’m not sure this actually means much. It’s more of an oddity, though might even out across innings as the season goes on. But it is at least interesting, and clears the bar for something different to write about for one of 162 game previews over the course of a long season.

Keeping with the theme, Walker Buehler starts on Friday for the Dodgers. He has allowed one run in the second inning of his nine starts, and one run in the third inning. Those are his best innings this season, with opposing batters just eight for 61, hitting .131/.172/.213 with 17 strikeouts over those 18 total innings.

Game info

Teams: Dodgers (31-19) vs. Giants (30-20)

Location: Dodger Stadium

Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: SportsNet LA