The Los Angeles Dodgers’ lead all of Major League Baseball in stolen bases this season, largely due to one player that has about half of them.
Dee Gordon stole his 40th base of the season on Wednesday, increasing his lead to nine in the stolen base category. The speedy second baseman has thrust himself into consideration for the National League All-Star team with his .285 average and league-leading nine triples.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, manager Don Mattingly believes that Gordon’s speed is a huge benefit to the offense:
Dee’s definitely changing things when he gets on base,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
There have been several occasions where Gordon has caused a pitcher to throw over numerous times and even scored on a balk by Kansas City Royals’ pitcher James Shields on Wednesday. Because of his speed, pitchers are determined to keep a close eye on him once he reaches base.
Wednesday night’s starting pitcher Dan Haren also threw in his thoughts on Gordon’s speed proving useful:
In my experience with guys who are running, you’ve got to slide-step more, and when a pitcher slide steps, you’re going to lose a little more behind the ball and location isn’t quite as crisp,” pitcher Dan Haren said. “It’s definitely a weapon, and he’s been getting on base a lot in the last couple weeks.”
It’s no surprise that the Dodgers have been playing better lately once Gordon has picked things back up again. When he was in his slump, the offense was stagnant and the team struggled. Since June 15, the 26-year-old is hitting .333 and the Dodgers have gone 7-3 in those games.
With Alex Guerrero still on the mend from surgery to save his ear, Gordon is still the primary second baseman and will be counted on to lead the offense like he has.
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