Much concern exists with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ability to compete with perceived heavyweights of the sport such as the Houston Astros in October. Admittedly, the Astros seem to bludgeon teams if you’re looking at their result night over night on the scoreboard. In addition, the Astros have three starting pitchers who could be considered ‘ace’ status.
However, there is one aspect where the Dodgers have an edge against the Astros and everyone else says Sam Miller of ESPN.
First, the Dodgers hit pitchers with high-velocity better than the Astros.
It’s not enough to say the Dodgers hit .276/.354/.485 against 95-plus and the Astros hit only .234/.335/.390. For one thing, that only captures each team’s performance on pitches that end at-bats.
Obviously, this is important because in October; teams face the best arms that the sport has to offer at a high volume. What Miller eloquently lays out is an exhibit of how well the Dodgers (and Astros) hit elite pitching.
Is Success Against High Velocity A Postseason Storyline? https://t.co/E55OtN9b0j
— Sam Miller (@SamMillerBB) September 20, 2019
Furthermore – and it’s been widely talked about – the Dodgers are a disciplined bunch at the plate when it comes to pitch selectivity.
By chase rate, the Dodgers were second-best in baseball, and best among probable playoff teams — they don’t chase any more often at 95-plus than they do against slower fastballs. The Astros were 22nd. And by whiff rate, the Dodgers were again second-best in baseball, trailing only the Washington Nationals. The Astros were slightly better than average.
Therefore, no matter how strong Houston, New York, Atlanta, or anyone else in the playoff field seems; this is an area the Dodgers can grind out wins. Simply, the ability to grind out at-bats and tax the opposing pitching staff should be a way the Dodgers could overcome a spot as an underdog.
Finally, ESPN nicely lists the teams in the playoff field in this versus ’95-plus’ stuff.
Probable MLB Playoff Teams Vs. 95-Plus via ESPN:
Los Angeles can rake with the best of them – that’s the take home message here. So go forward with confidence as we enter this final week of the regular season, and prepare for the bedlam that is October baseball.
The Dodgers taking a title over the 2019 Houston Astros would be as fulfilling as anything that has taken place in my sports life.