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Dodgers: ESPN Says LA Better Prepared For October Than Astros

Los Angeles hitters get after pitchers with ‘hard stuff’ as well as anyone in the game

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.

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:

  1. Dodgers
  2. Twins
  3. Cardinals
  4. Nationals
  5. Braves
  6. Brewers
  7. Yankees
  8. Cubs
  9. Indians
  10. A’s
  11. Astros
  12. Rays

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.

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

12 Comments

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  1. I think Clint is just a bit bias. We will see when the Astros are beating the Braves in the World Series.

  2. While I’m a Dodgers fan, I’m not exactly on board with these stats, that are tilted by the dodgers 1st half numbers. Looking at the dodgers lineup for the 2nd half split, the team batting numbers are down in almost every category. This is what troubles me going into the playoffs. I truly hope I’m wrong about what I see.

  3. Clint, I want my Dodgers to win this WS more than anything!!!! But the battle will be fought on the field, not on predictions that we are better. Certainly, I hope this is true!!!! But I am worried about our starting pitching, especially Kersh. In addition, I would not allow Hill to pitch game 4 of a crucial series; and, the “casualty” rate could have an effect on overall team production -Muncy and Big Red, especially. Go Blue!!!!

  4. Front office seems to be desperate to somehow manufacture an advantage to the team they built basically from within; the additions from outside the organization were basically minor leaguers or castoffs no one else wanted. I don’t mind that method when it works, but it hasn’t worked against decent teams in the regular season. Why should we accept FO assurances that it will work in the playoffs against the best teams in both leagues? No one wants them to win more than I, but frankly I just don’t see it happening this year or next with the same philosophy in place. And have you noticed that for the most part the youngsters other contenders bring up are consistently better than ours? Just sayin’.

    • One reason may be that those other youngster brought up by the other teams are higher draft picks. Another reason could be is the obsession this organization has with the lefty/righty matchups so many of them come here not being able to compete against both hands of a pitcher. and that may be because these players are not allowed much opportunities to hit both sides of the opposing pitcher.

    • Other teams’ youngsters are consistently better? What do you base that on? And what teams are you talking about?
      Better than Bellinger, Seager, Verdugo, Buehler?

  5. And now the Astros will demolish us more than they were already going to. They already play with a chip as it is

    • NODH, for one thing we won’t see the Astros or the Yankees having to shuffle their lineups around because of a LHP going against them. In fact I don’t think we will see any of the other teams in the playoffs having to do that in the manner that Dodgers feel they need to do.

  6. This writer is cherry- picking. Dodgers may be better fastball hitters, but they can’t hit well placed off- speed pitchers to save their lives.

    • Exactly what I was going to say. And no matter what, CK, Buehler and the others on this staff have a tendency to put the team behind quickly with the amount of HR’s they serve up. IDK, but I am hard pressed to even think that with all that is currently happening with this team that they will even get to the WS this year. In this day and age it’s nearly impossible to get into 3 WS in a row. Last team to do so was the Yankees and they made it to the WS 4 years in a row, winning 3 of the 4..

  7. 2017 proved a baseball game played out in Fantasy mode on paper, did not translate in reality very well. Platooning being the big issue. If the Dodgers are still experimenting with their lineup at the end of the season, there are real big problems. We should be honing our skills, not figuring out a lineup.
    (Dodger fan since late Aug 2019).

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