Speed, or better yet the lack of speed, has been a constant topic of conversation surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.
After trading Dee Gordon in the offseason, the Dodgers ranked last in stolen bases for the entire season until recently. Not only did they not steal bases, but they seemed to run into a lot of outs, costing them runs along the way. Since August 29, the Dodgers have flipped the script on that narrative, leading the Majors in stolen bases (17) and being caught just once in that timespan. They are now tied for 21st in the MLB in stolen bases.
According to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com, manager Don Mattingly hasn’t changed the game plan:
We’re not really doing anything different,” Mattingly insists. “We just have some different guys.”
The additions of Jose Peraza, Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Corey Schebler, not to mention the return of Carl Crawford from the disabled list, has indeed increased the Dodgers speed in the past few weeks.
First base coach Davey Lopes believes the new running game can change the book on the Dodgers, especially in the postseason via JP Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
It’s something that’s small but yet plays big,” Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes said. “Now we keep this approach that we have now and bring it to a playoff situation, now we can manufacture a run here. People can’t say ‘well, they’re not going to run.’ Now all of a sudden they’re starting to run. What’s the deal?’”
The Dodgers are 8-2 since August 29 and have won 12 of their last 14. Mattingly does believe the two are synonymous to a certain degree according to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA:
It’s all about outs and bases,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “If you’re giving up outs on the bases, you only have 27, so if we’re just throwing outs away by running into outs and making bad decisions, it changes your chances.”
It adds an interesting dynamic to a team that has been in first place nearly the entire season, and could prove to be key in the coming weeks, including the playoffs.