Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Bottom of the Lineup Getting It Done for L.A.

The Dodgers are the best offensive team in baseball this year, and when you look at the numbers up and down the lineup, it’s not hard to see why. They have the best 1-2 punch in baseball, getting an .886 OPS from the top two spots in the lineup, 16 points higher than the “Aaron Judge and probably someone else” Yankees and 78 points better than the “Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout” Angels.

The Dodgers drop off a bit when you get to the 3-6 spots in the lineup, with just the seventh-best OPS (.753), although the Yankees (13th, .741) and Angels (26th, .681) drop off even more. Cody Bellinger got 85 plate appearances in the fifth or sixth spot, and Max Muncy has taken all but 43 of his 460 plate appearances in the heart of the lineup, so with those two struggling most of the year, it’s not surprising their numbers drop a little. In fact, it’s surprising and impressive to be as high as seventh giving those handicaps.

But what really sets the Dodgers apart is the 7-9 spots in the lineup. The Dodgers lead all of baseball with a .760 OPS from the bottom of their order, even with the struggling Bellinger taking most of his at-bats there. Bellinger’s best numbers have come in the seventh spot, Chris Taylor’s best numbers have come eighth, and Gavin Lux has spent the majority of the season in the bottom of the order and done very well there. And, oh yeah, the season’s biggest surprise, Trayce Thompson, has taken most of his ABs from the bottom of the lineup, too.

As Cary Osborne writes for Dodger Insider, the production from the bottom of the order is not lost on Mookie Betts, who has 74 RBIs from the leadoff spot this year, five shy of his career-high. Of course, 33 of those RBIs came from Betts driving himself in with a homer, but Betts has driven in Lux 11 times, Bellinger eight times, and Taylor six times.

“Without the bottom half there’s no way we are in the spot that we’re in,” said leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, who hit two doubles in the game and drove in a run. “It takes a whole team. We’ve been able to kind of put it together throughout the season, and sometimes it’s the top, sometimes it’s the bottom. But us as a team, we’ve just been huge working together.”

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts also recognizes how important the bottom of the order is for the Dodgers.

“Because of the top and the middle, we have guys that are on base. And so the bottom three guys are going to get opportunities,” Roberts said. “Joey [Gallo] had a big hit today. Cody turned the lineup over a few times tonight. CT has been getting a little bit more on track. So yeah, we need that length. We need all those guys.”

The bottom of the Dodgers order leads the majors in runs scored and is second in RBIs. The goal when the Dodgers constructed this team was for there to be no rest for opposing pitchers, and the bottom of the order is key to that. We’re 133 games into the season, and it seems like that plan is working.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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