Making a comeback in the late innings is a difficult task, but it has been especially difficult for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are just 9-26 in those situations. However, this has been a significant improvement from the 2014 season.
Last year, the Dodgers were 2-54 when trailing after the seventh inning. Part of this was due to the fact that the team batted just .241/.318/.362 from the seventh to the ninth innings (not including the pitcher), the lowest for each inning span. They hit .260 in the first to second innings and .293 in the third to sixth.
Manager Don Mattingly believes that this team has a different attitude when trailing after the seventh inning, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
You like to think there’s something to it from the standpoint of your guys keep playing, hanging in there and the pitching does the same. You hope it says something to the character of your club, that they’re a club that’s not going to just roll over. They’re a club that’s going to keep having good at-bats for you, hanging in there and try to find a way to win.”
This season, the team is slashing .240/.316/.392 in the seventh to ninth innings which is not much of an increase. However, the team has almost matched their total home runs in those innings from last season. In 2014, they hit 32, but in 2015 they have hit 31.
In fact, the only significant difference in the hitters is when the game is either tied, the Dodgers are ahead by one run, or the tying run is at least on deck. In these situations, the Dodgers are slashing .245/.325/.411, which is much better than last years .238/.310/.382.
The Dodgers will need to be able to come through in the clutch the rest of the year if they plan to win a third straight division title.