Dodgers’ offensive approach has held up better this postseason – Press Enterprise

Dodgers’ offensive approach has held up better this postseason – Press Enterprise

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dodgers knew they were getting a five-tool player when they acquired Mookie Betts. They probably didn’t realize how valuable his sixth tool would be – his voice.

Betts’ influence on the Dodgers’ hitters has not so much changed them in October as it has reminded them who they need to be in the postseason.

“I think top to bottom we’re doing the little things,” Dodgers utilityman Chris Taylor said. “We’re taking what they give us. It’s not all for the long ball. Obviously, with our hitters, we’re going to run into a couple. But I think we’re taking our singles. We’re working counts, getting guys on base more consistently.”

Those things often got away from them in past playoff series – like the National League Division Series loss to the Washington Nationals last fall. The Dodgers hit nine home runs in the five games but they also struck out 64 times and went just 5 for 37 (.135) with runners in scoring position.

“Our players, our hitting coaches in the past, they’ve all talked about it. It’s not something that’s new,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s when you’re in the moment, to still be able to take balls and not try to slug and just take what they give you … when you’re in the batter’s box you’re in control. And so our players with experience are tempering a little bit, and that’s a credit to them.”

What is new is … Betts. Roberts credits him with adding his voice to the chorus, bringing the influence that having a World Series ring brings.

“I think that Mookie’s driven it and I think coming in, a new voice has certainly helped,” Roberts acknowledged. “But it’s never been the approach to just sit back and try to hit home runs, I can promise you that.”

The Dodgers have still hit their share – 20 in their first 13 postseason games – but they have also drawn 65 walks, averaging 5.7 in their first 10 postseason wins. The team’s on-base percentage has jumped from .338 during the 60-game regular season to .360 in the postseason (through Game 1) – the highest of any playoff team. And they have made it pay off by going 32 for 102 (.314) with runners in scoring position during the postseason.

“I think it’s been talked about. It has been actually talked about for years,” Roberts said of the adjusted approach in the postseason. “But I think that really kind of understanding what we’ve been through and some of the failures that we’ve had as far as an offense and the approach … guys are adjusting, and that’s part of experience. Certainly having Mookie here and his voice with the hitters with what Corey (Seager) is doing, with what JT (Justin Turner) has always done in the postseason – it’s just keeping the line moving. We just continue to add stress to guys and I always felt that when you’re doing that it gives us the best chance to put up points.”

THE GLOBE LIFE

Game 2 on Wednesday night was the Dodgers’ 15th game at Globe Life Field – a three-game series during the regular season and 12 postseason games.

“It seems like we’re almost gonna play as many games here as the Rangers this year,” Roberts said.

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