The Los Angeles Dodgers are hitting more, by hitting less. What a funny concept, right? Indeed though, that’s what is going on behind the curtain at Dodgers facilities. Surely, you saw the Dodgers put up a milestone amount of runs in their opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s not just something in the drinking water, in case you were wondering.
Furthermore, Pedro Moura detailed a great read over at The Athletic that talks about the Dodgers’ unique approach in 2019 which is yielding more results.
The Dodgers are hitting well and hitting…less in 2019. They’re limiting pregame access to the cages. “You gotta put some boundaries around some of these guys,” Dave Roberts said. “Because they want to work hard, which is a great thing. But to what end?” https://t.co/uRQj7PnzpQ
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) April 1, 2019
Simply, new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc having the players hit a little bit less. No really, they’re not hitting as much; the article details:
The team is limiting players’ access to Dodger Stadium’s batting cages. Over the first series against Arizona, the cages were not staffed until five hours before first pitch, or later in the case of day games. The idea is that it is still plenty of time to prepare. The goal is to limit the workload that will accumulate between now and the end of October, when the Dodgers plan to still be playing.
“You gotta put some boundaries around some of these guys,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Because they want to work hard, which is a great thing. But to what end? For some of these guys, there’s anxiety involved. And, as coaches, we understand that we’re expecting to play baseball for seven months.”
Equally important as having guys remain fresh physically is the mental approach remain in the same state. Now, Max Muncy can see how that comes into play.
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Muncy gave a nice quote on that aspect of the hands-off approach being coined in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
“Part of the reason why a lot of us are very good is because we like to get in there and work,” Max Muncy said. “But we’re human and the coaches are human, so sometimes you have to put restraints on people to make sure everyone realizes we all need breaks here and there — coaching staff included.”
The article goes on to talk about how in past seasons, many players would arrive to do early cage work around noon or shortly thereafter. Currently, the Dodgers are showing up around 3 to get started. The old adage applies here – if it’s not broken you don’t fix it. Without question, the Dodgers’ offense is off to an incredible start with 42 runs in four games.
Alex Verdugo added to how things feel in the hitting room.
“Our hitters are friggin’ locked in right now,” Verdugo said. “Everyone’s going crazy. Just tone it down a little bit,” he said. “Running a marathon, you’re not gonna sprint as fast as you can for one mile and then die the last five. You’re gonna get into a nice steady jog and make it all right.”
Yes, the Dodgers will go into a stretch where they don’t hit at some point. That is the game of baseball. For right now, you stick with exactly what is yielding (record-setting) results and don’t deviate. And you ride that wave as long as possible.