Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
After another disappointing postseason exit, the Los Angeles Dodgers are faced with the challenge of determining what went wrong and how they fix it moving forward.
One common thread in the Dodgers’ October struggles is a lack of offense and hitting with runners in scoring position, which is something they generally excel at in the regular season. After scoring more than 900 runs in the 2023 season, the Dodgers managed just six across three games with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Their offensive struggles were highlighted even more by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman going a combined 1-for-21 in the National League Division Series.
Although that would normally seem like a random outlier, it has become more of a trend for the Dodgers in the postseason and they’ve been trying to figure out why that is.
Max Muncy believes one reason could be based on an approach that works so well for the regular season being less effective in the playoffs, via Foul Territory:
“What’s funny is we’ve tried to dig into this a bunch. Especially from an offensive side, we’ve really dug into why things are so different for us in the postseason. Every year we look at the numbers, there’s 12 teams in the postseason now. Last year in terms of chase rate outside the zone, we were the first or second-best. And the two teams that made the World Series were like first or second-worst at chase rate. We start looking into that kind of stuff, and the teams offensively that are making it to the World Series are going out there and getting their swings off. And we’re being too disciplined.
“That’s almost where it’s like we just need to flip the script and go up there and start hacking. But it’s hard to get a team when your whole thing is grind the pitcher out, get good pitches to hit, get on base, and we’re extremely good at doing all of that. It’s not like it just happens every once in a while. So it’s hard to get a team to not do that when the games count.”
In 2023, the Dodgers had a team chase rate of just 26%, which was the fifth-lowest in baseball.
However, Muncy’s argument falls apart a bit when looking at the other postseason teams. The American League champion Texas Rangers led MLB with a 25.5% chase rate, while the Arizona Diamondbacks were just 0.6 points behind the Dodgers.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays were both inside the bottom-five teams. Yet, the Rays were swept while the Phillies got eliminated by the Diamondbacks.
The Houston Astros also ranked middle-of-the-pack in chase rate.
Whatever the Dodgers’ issues are in the postseason may be a combination of things, including randomness, a lack of energy and pressing too much.
Max Muncy contract extension
Muncy was among the six Dodgers players who had a contract option for the 2024 season, which was worth $14 million. The Dodgers wound up signing Muncy to a two-year, $24 million contract extension.
His deal includes a $10 million team option for 2026.
Make sure to follow Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!