Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
For the fourth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to face off against a National League West opponent in the NL Division Series when they begin play with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Last year, the Dodgers were eliminated by the San Diego Padres in the NLDS after playing dominant baseball throughout the season against their divisional foe. That’s some of the randomness that often accompanies October baseball, but the Dodgers’ biggest issue is the team failed to hit with runners in scoring position.
Now, the Dodgers are looking to improve when they have an opportunity to drive in a run.
“I think a lot of went into last year was us not hitting with runners in scoring position,” Freddie Freeman said. “From Game 2 through 4, we had a stretch of like 0-for-18, 0-for-19 or 0-for-20. I wish there was a blueprint of, this is what we need to do. It’s really if we can get the big hit. That’s what playoffs are.
“It’s if you can get a guy or two on, and hit a big three-run home run. Pitching obviously is massive in playoffs, but if we can just get the big hit this year, I think we’ll be OK.”
Overall this season, the Dodgers hit .276/.370/.449 with runners in scoring position. With two outs, that mark was .257/.359/.440 with 274 RBI in 798 plate appearances.
That helped lead to the Dodgers scoring 900 runs in a season for the first time since moving to L.A. and just their sixth overall instance. Prior to this year’s group, the last Dodgers team to score 900 runs in a season was Brooklyn in 1953.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is also stressing the urgency of the postseason to his squad and plans to match that with his managing.
Dodgers increased intensity for NLDS preparation
After earning a bye through the Wild Card round in 2022, the Dodgers looked like they had trouble bringing the intensity back up for the postseason after their break during the first round.
This year, the club looked to break that by increasing their practice intensity on days off, working on more situational moments, and inviting some fans to watch a scrimmage game.
“The schedule was the same, but within the intrasquad games we did situations and we had fans on Wednesday,” Freeman said. “So we were doing first and second, first and third, second and third, if you get them in then you get points as a group.
“We were competing against each other by team. It was more of just trying to replicate some situations that we’ll have, starting tomorrow. Instead of just going out there and if Lance is striking everybody out, you’re not going to get much out of it. We did some situational things the last couple days, and I thought the work was really good.”
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