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Just how bad are the Dodgers in extra innings?

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11 losses in 12 extra-inning games this season for LA, including the last 10 in a row

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Dodgers lost another game in extra innings on Friday night. It happened in familiar fashion for a team that seems to be perplexed by the free runner on second base.

In the top of the 10th inning, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger, and Billy McKinney all flew out harmlessly. It only took nine pitches, six of them to McKinney. Will Smith began the inning on second base, and ended it there, too.

Smith was behind the plate in the bottom of the frame for only four pitches. Josh VanMeter, who doubled three times in the game, lined out to shortstop, but then Asdrubal Cabrera blooped a hit to left field score Daulton Varsho with the game winner. Just like that, the game was over.

The Dodgers are now 1-11 in extra inning games this season. Jimmy Nelson kept the Padres off the board in the 10th inning on April 25 in Los Angeles, but in every single extra inning since then, beginning in the 11th inning on that night, Dodgers pitchers have allowed at least one run. That covers 13 innings, and 10 games. All are losses.

Dodgers extra-inning games in 2021

Date Opponent Inning Runs scored Runs allowed
Date Opponent Inning Runs scored Runs allowed
Wed, Apr 7 at A's 10 0 1
Fri, Apr 16 at Padres 10 0 0
Fri, Apr 16 at Padres 11 0 0
Fri, Apr 16 at Padres 12 5 0
Sun, Apr 25 Padres 10 0 0
Sun, Apr 25 Padres 11 0 1
Mon, Apr 26 Reds 10 0 2
Sat, May 1 at Brewers 10 1 1
Sat, May 1 at Brewers 11 2 3
Tue, May 4 at Cubs 8 2 2
Tue, May 4 at Cubs 9 0 1
Wed, May 5 at Cubs 10 1 1
Wed, May 5 at Cubs 11 1 2
Fri, May 28 Giants 10 0 3
Wed, Jul 7 at Marlins 10 0 1
Sun, Jul 18 at Rockies 10 1 2
Fri, Jul 23 Rockies 10 0 3
Sat, Jul 31 at D-backs 10 0 1

It takes a true team effort to lose so many such games in a row. The pitching has been a mix of rookies getting thrust into high-leverage spots — Garrett Cleavinger lost three extra-inning games in an 11-day span — to the trusted back end. Kenley Jansen has last two extra-inning games. So has Jimmy Nelson, including Friday night. Blake Treinen lost one, too.

Dodgers opponents have scored in 14 of the 18 extra innings this season, while the Dodgers have scored in only seven of the 18.

After the Dodgers’ previous last loss in extras, on July 23 at home against Colorado, third baseman Justin Turner struggled to explain why the Dodgers had lost all but one extra-inning contest.

“I have no idea. If you guys have anything, let me know. It’s pretty weird,” he said. “It’s obviously not good.”

Every extra inning starts with a runner on second base, immediately putting a runner in scoring position. Generally — despite fan complaints from all corners — the Dodgers have actually thrived in such situations this year. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers are hitting .266/.375/.449, fifth in the majors in batting average and tied for second in wRC+ (123).

In extra innings, the Dodgers are 9-for-59 with runners in scoring position, hitting .153/.292/.305. Their opponents are hitting .283/.441/.522. That’s a recipe for 11 losses in 12 games.

It’s the little things, too. Dodgers opponents have five sacrifice flies in extras this season, while LA batters have scored two runs on outs — one sacrifice fly, and one groundout. Part of the 13 total runs scored in 18 extra innings, and 24 runs allowed.

“I think in retrospect, you can obviously look at things different. But you’ve still got to play the game. You’ve still got to execute,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “When you have opportunities on the offensive side and on the defensive side, you’ve got to make pitches. That’s whether there’s a man on second base or not.

“It’s the same for both clubs, but we clearly haven’t played well.”

As is usually the case with runners in scoring position, over a larger sample, a team will perform to its true talent. Keep getting those opportunities, and eventually runs will come. But so far, they haven’t, and the Dodgers find themselves in strange territory.

Since 1901, the modern era, 31 teams have finished a season with an extra-inning win percentage of .200 or worse. The Dodgers’ current 1-11 (.083) mark is tied for third-worst, with the 2012 Astros, a team that tried to lose on purpose and succeeded, dropping 107 games in the middle of a three-year tank that saw them lose two-thirds of their games.

Very bad teams are usually the ones with very bad extra-inning records. The worst Dodgers team in extra innings was the 1908 Brooklyn team that dropped 10 of 11 such games and finished 53-101, seventh place in an eight-team National League.

The only teams with a worse extra-inning record than the 2021 Dodgers are the 1969 Montreal Expos, a first-year expansion team that was 0-12 in extras and lost 110 games, and the 1982 Twins, a 102-loss team that was 1-13 in extras.

The worst extra-inning teams in MLB history

Year Team Extra inn. record Extra inn. win% Overall record Overall win%
Year Team Extra inn. record Extra inn. win% Overall record Overall win%
1969 Expos 0-12 0.000 52-110 0.321
1982 Twins 1-13 0.071 60-102 0.370
2021 Dodgers 1-11 0.083 62-43 0.590
2012 Astros 1-11 0.083 55-107 0.340
1936 Red Sox 1-10 0.091 74-80 0.481
1908 Dodgers 1-10 0.091 53-101 0.344
1933 Yankees 1-9 0.100 91-59 0.607
1914 Reds 1-9 0.100 60-94 0.390
1989 Braves 2-14 0.125 63-97 0.394
2015 Rays 2-13 0.133 80-82 0.494
1968 Mets 2-13 0.133 73-89 0.451
1934 Reds 2-13 0.133 52-99 0.344
1993 Cleveland 2-12 0.143 76-86 0.469
1951 Browns 2-12 0.143 52-102 0.338
1917 Browns 2-11 0.154 57-97 0.370
1974 Cleveland 2-10 0.167 77-85 0.475
1989 Cleveland 3-15 0.167 73-89 0.451
2012 Red Sox 2-10 0.167 69-93 0.426
1931 Browns 2-10 0.167 63-91 0.409
1919 Senators 2-10 0.167 56-84 0.400
1927 Phillies 2-10 0.167 51-103 0.331
1979 Blue Jays 2-10 0.167 53-109 0.327
1907 Cardinals 3-14 0.176 52-101 0.340
2009 Pirates 2-9 0.182 62-99 0.385
1912 Yankees 2-9 0.182 50-102 0.329
1937 Browns 2-9 0.182 46-108 0.299
2003 Tigers 3-13 0.188 43-119 0.265
1928 Senators 3-12 0.200 75-79 0.487
1987 Red Sox 3-12 0.200 78-84 0.481
1974 Mets 4-16 0.200 71-91 0.438
1939 Phillies 2-8 0.200 45-106 0.298
1909 Braves 2-8 0.200 45-108 0.294
since 1901 | minimum 10 games Source: Baseball Reference

Of the previous 31 teams to lose at least 80 percent of their extra-inning games, only one finished with a non-losing record. The 1933 Yankees — like these Dodgers, the defending World Series champion — dropped nine of 10 extra-inning affairs. They were 91-59 overall, a perfectly fine record but seven games worse than the pennant-winning Washington Senators, who were 13-6 in extras, including three extra-inning wins in three tries against New York.