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Dodgers offense and the (mile) high five

Scoring 5 runs is often a winning strategy for LA

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Five runs is usually a good total to reach as a major league offense, and the Dodgers hit that on the button in Friday’s opening day win.

There was reason for excitement on Friday, including all five Dodgers runs coming in a single inning, a long stretch that defined the depth of the lineup and also turned an otherwise strong start by Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland into a nightmare.

Wet blankets include the fact that technically the Dodgers scored under their average from last season (5.12 runs per game), a figure that was accomplished without the designated hitter for 152 of their 162 games. Also, the game Friday was at the offensive paradise of Coors Field, and the Dodgers failed to score in eight of their nine innings, though they had at least someone on base in each of the first seven frames.

“They got a lot of good arms, they kind of shut us back down after that [fourth inning],” said Trea Turner on SportsNet LA. “We’ve got to adjust tomorrow and make sure we can put up runs early, middle, and late.”

But getting to five runs is still a winning strategy.

The Dodgers had the third-most such games in 2021, behind only the 107-win Giants and the 100-win Rays. Los Angeles last year was 74-12 (.860) when scoring at least five runs, a cut above MLB on the whole (.784), which makes sense considering the Dodgers’ pitching is also strong, making them more equipped to capitalize on a functioning offense.

Even if we dial it down to only scoring exactly five runs, MLB teams had a .604 winning percentage in such games last year, a 98-win pace over a full season. The Dodgers in 2021 were 19-8 (.704) when scoring exactly five runs.

What about Coors Field?

The Rockies have called it home since 1995, and during that time teams scoring at least five runs have a .691 winning percentage. The Dodgers when scoring at least five runs at Coors Field are 108-39 (.735).

But when scoring exactly five runs at Coors Field, the Dodgers are 11-16 (.407), while MLB teams have a .448 winning percentage in such games in the history of the ballpark.

The Dodgers have scored at least five runs in 63.8 percent of their games in Coors Field. But perhaps more importantly, Los Angeles have reached five runs 22 times in their last 26 games in Denver, including each of the last seven games there. That helps explain how the Dodgers haven’t lost a series at Coors Field since 2018.

Dodgers vs. Rockies info

  • Teams: Dodgers (1-0) at Rockies (0-1)
  • Location: Coors Field
  • Time: 5:10 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA