It’s no secret that MLB made an effort to level the playing field this year. When they introduced humidors for baseballs in every stadium, the expectation was that the homerun rate could take a dive. And boy did it. Dodgers fans already know that something is different, watching several deep fly balls fall just short of the outfield walls.
Gavin Lux’s flyball on Monday night was a great example of that. Crushed off of the bat, Lux’s ball fell right into the outfielder’s glove against the wall. After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sort of joked about it being a conspiracy theory that it didn’t go out.
The homerun rate across MLB is down right now compared to this point last season. That sort of has resulted in pitchers across the league getting close to perfect games or no-hitters. That includes Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin within the past week.
Just like the change in pitchers throwing up in the zone, hitters are going to need to adjust their approach at some point. But the Dodgers skipper isn’t convinced that will happen anytime soon across the league. (quote via the OC Register)
“Maybe next season when there’s more data, and guys who are hitting balls at a certain velocity with that trajectory that are not getting rewarded – they turn into fly-ball outs – then you see an adjustment. But I think that’s going to be a slow drip.”
So clearly, there is something different this year. There is the added factor that the Dodgers have a few guys scuffling to find their swings though. Mookie Betts is usually good for 20-plus homeruns a year and has yet to find his power. Max Muncy is a 35-plus-a-year guy that has just 1 through his first 11 games played.
It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle the adjustment. Generally an all-or-nothing swinging team, they will need to make some changes at the plate. So far, they’ve been able to get it done.
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