There are always ebbs and flows in a baseball season, but the Dodgers haven’t hit left-handed pitching all year. On Friday, the Diamondbacks Caleb Smith was the latest southpaw starter to befuddle the Dodgers bats. Manager Dave Roberts admitted this weekend that improving their hitting against lefties continues to be a point of emphasis.
“Our hitting guys talk about it. Our players talk about it. It’s a show me league. We have to be better.”
As a team, the Dodgers are 19th in OPS against left-handed pitching.
WATCH: Why do the Dodgers Struggle Against Left-Handed Pitching?
Historically, the Dodgers have featured a left-handed heavy lineup for the last several years. When the players are fully healthy, there will be three talented left-handed batters at the top of the order: Seager, Bellinger, and Muncy. Bellinger and Seager are both much more productive hitters against righties. For their careers, Seager and Bellinger are more than 100 points better against righties than lefties when it comes to OPS.
Moreover, there’s a trio of right-handed bats that are also struggling against lefties this season – Betts, Turner, and Smith. Add in the left-handed hitting Gavin Lux, and it’s easy to see why the Dodgers offense sometimes goes dormant against middling-at-best lefty starters.
By the numbers
- Mookie Betts: .232 (vs LHP)/ .261(vs RHP)
- Gavin Lux: .158/.279
- Justin Turner: .275/.286
- Will Smith: .206/.310
Now, baseball stat experts put much more stock in split stats over the course of years, not months. Betts’s 2021 splits add another piece to his subpar 2021 puzzle since, for his career, he has an almost even split lefty versus righty(.292/.299).
There’s plenty of time for the Dodgers to turn it around against left-handed pitching, particularly lefty starters. Poor offensive games against Arizona in June won’t kill a season, but, the Dodgers will have to beat a lefty or two come October.