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Dodgers: Why Does LA Struggle Against Left Handed Pitching?

The Dodgers are having their worst season against left handed pitching in years offensively.



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.

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Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. Hmmm … a little cherry picking. Your statement about Seager’s and Bellinger’s OPS against LHP is technically true but you failed to mention that both players own a career OPS against LHP that is well above league average. Moreover, Muncy’s career OPS is 50 points better against LHP.

    The difference may well be that Mookie, JT, and CT3 own career splits that are about equal against either hand and Will Smith’s split is surprising abysmal. Only AJ is significantly better against LHP.

    There’s no question the team hits RHP better but the difference is overrated. Pujols and Sousa may change the conversation anyway.

  2. Simply put, if Dodgrrs don’t improve and continue to struggle against LHP, teams will throw more and mm ore of them even if they have to dip into their minors to do so. Oh an it will be a quick exit in October if team doesn’t improve. In fact they could miss October all together because of it.

    • everyone has known this about the club for years now. This is nothing new. We won the World Series last year with this team, the opposition in each playoff series throwing lefties at us. We won then, and we’ll win again. Not much of a concern in my book. Dodgers threw 8 RH hitters at the snakes yesterday and scored 9 runs! This is all “Much ado about nothing”!

      • Joe, the Dodger manager and coaches talk about this regularly, which means they have some level of concern. They did win last year as a43 and 17 record indicates they did everything else exceptionally well to overcome this. BTW. Dodgers should seriously attempt to sign CT3 to an extension prior to his impending FA. I would guess you can agree with that.

  3. I have noticed that players that throw right and swing left you sacrifice power. If you are right handed you should have little or no problem with both swings, I always assumed my right throwing arm to a left handed swing felt kinded good but not for power. Right for power. Someone didn’t show you how to swing when growing up. Right right and left left. This is my opinion and have never asked about it

  4. Dodgers have struggled vs LHP for as long as I can remember. partly due to LH hitters have a tougher time hitting LHP than do RH hitters vs RHP. so the Dodgers have always sat some of their LH hitters in favor of RH ones, but the righties are usually much worse hitters period. this year the Dodgers use too many light hitting rookies in place of good LH hitters like Beaty and Lux.

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