Cracking the Code: How the Dodgers Mastered Stopping Arizona’s Running Game

When it comes to baseball, every detail can make a significant difference, and for the Los Angeles Dodgers, their strategy to stop Arizona’s running game was no exception. Let’s delve into how the Dodgers addressed this issue and what adjustments they made.

The Early Season Challenge

Inside the Dodgers

At the outset of the season, the Dodgers faced a significant hurdle in controlling the running game. Teams seemed to run at will against them, resulting in 101 stolen bases in 114 attempts during the first 81 games. Notably, 20 of those successful thefts came with Noah Syndergaard, who struggled to hold runners, on the mound.

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Syndergaard’s difficulties, stating, "Not to point one person out, but Noah wasn’t great at holding runners on, so a lot of that damage was taken on by him." However, he emphasized that it was a collective effort to improve.

Turning the Tide

Syndergaard’s final game for the Dodgers was on June 7, and shortly after, he was traded to Cleveland. Following his departure, the Dodgers tightened their defense, allowing only 41 stolen bases in 57 attempts over their remaining 81 games. This marked a significant improvement.

A Team Effort

It’s crucial to note that Syndergaard wasn’t the sole pitcher struggling with containing the running game. Other pitchers, like Michael Grove and Caleb Ferguson, also faced challenges. For instance, the Diamondbacks managed to steal five bases in a single game off Grove and Ferguson.

The Diamondbacks’ Speed

The Arizona Diamondbacks posed a substantial threat on the basepaths. They ranked second in the majors with 166 stolen bases in 192 attempts and an impressive 86% success rate for the season. Leadoff man Corbin Carroll was a standout, swiping 54 bases in 59 attempts.

Preparing for the Playoffs

As the Dodgers entered the National League Division Series, their ability to contain the Diamondbacks’ running game became a focal point. Manager Dave Roberts emphasized the importance of getting that first hitter of the inning out and varying pitching looks to manage potential run-scoring opportunities.

Adapting to New Rules

This season introduced several changes, including the implementation of bigger bases and a rule limiting pitchers to two "disengagements" with the rubber per plate appearance without penalty. These adjustments favored teams with speedy runners, making it crucial for the Dodgers to adapt swiftly.

Learning and Improving

The Diamondbacks’ ten stolen bases against the Dodgers in their first eight matchups served as a wake-up call for the eventual NL West champions. It was clear that they needed to enhance their strategies, from varying pitching looks to speeding up their times to home plate and refining their pickoff plays.

In conclusion, the Dodgers’ journey to stop Arizona’s running game was a testament to their adaptability and collective effort. While early-season struggles existed, they made key adjustments to become more formidable opponents on the field. As they progressed through the season and into the playoffs, their ability to manage opposing teams’ speed on the basepaths became a pivotal aspect of their success.

So, when it comes to "Inside the Dodgers’ strategy to stop Arizona’s running game," it’s a story of resilience and determination in the world of baseball.

Related Topics of Interest

How do Dodgers slow a running game?

To slow down a running game, the Dodgers employ a two-pronged approach:

  1. Building Early Leads: One effective strategy is to build early leads in games. The Dodgers demonstrated this tactic in their five August victories against the Diamondbacks. During these wins, they allowed only two stolen bases while outscoring Arizona by a substantial margin, 30-9.

  2. Continuously Tacking On Runs: In addition to establishing an initial advantage, the Dodgers maintain their offensive momentum throughout the game. This approach not only puts pressure on the opposing team but also limits their opportunities to steal bases.

As Dodgers backup catcher Austin Barnes aptly puts it, "What’s that old saying — a good defense is a good offense?" This mindset underscores the Dodgers’ proactive approach to slowing down their opponents’ running game.

Why did the Dodgers lineup change twice before the game?

In a series of pre-game adjustments, the Dodgers’ lineup underwent two changes. Initially, manager Dave Roberts had planned for Justin Turner’s return to the lineup, despite him sitting out the previous Friday due to a left leg contusion. However, Turner requested an additional day of rest, which Roberts accommodated. Consequently, Gavin Lux was inserted to play second base, while Alberto shifted from second to third base.

Why are the Dodgers struggling?

Pinpointing the exact cause of the Dodgers’ recent struggles proves challenging. While they haven’t been performing up to their full hitting potential, it’s important to note that their batting hasn’t been subpar. Their starting pitching, while showing a slight dip in performance, remains a notable strength. Additionally, the bullpen has faced some staffing challenges but has not experienced a complete breakdown. Could it be the result of competing in baseball’s most competitive division?

What happened to the Dodgers game at Wrigley?

The series opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, scheduled to take place at Wrigley Field on Friday, was postponed due to rain. This weather-related delay led to the postponement of the game.

How many stolen bases did the Dodgers steal?

Teams exploited the Dodgers’ vulnerability to stolen bases during the initial three months of the season. In the first 81 games, opponents managed to steal 101 bases out of 114 attempts. Notably, 20 of these successful thefts occurred in just 21 attempts when Noah Syndergaard, known for his difficulties in holding runners, was on the mound.

What’s the deal with the Dodgers?

The deal revolves around commemorating two remarkable pitching performances. In the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, Madison Bumgarner achieved the impressive feat of not allowing a hit during seven innings. Likewise, Zac Gallen’s outstanding performance in the first game of the same doubleheader saw him allowing just one hit during seven innings. This recognition aims to honor these exceptional pitching achievements.

How bad are the Dodgers at preventing stolen bases?

The Dodgers’ performance in preventing stolen bases this season has been concerning. They currently lead the league with opponents successfully stealing 38 bases against them, marking the highest number in the majors. In contrast, the Dodgers have managed to throw out only six base stealers. Notably, their opponent’s caught-stealing percentage is among the lowest in the league, with only the Padres and Mets having a worse record. It’s worth noting that the challenges in this area extend beyond the catcher alone.

What is the Dodgers biggest problem?

One glaring issue that demands attention is the Dodgers’ struggle to prevent stolen bases this season. Their performance in this regard has been dismal, with opponents successfully stealing 38 bases, which is the highest in the majors. In contrast, the Dodgers have managed to throw out just six base stealers, resulting in one of the worst opponent’s caught-stealing percentages in the league, with only the Padres and Mets faring worse.

How many steals did the Dodgers have in Game 2?

During Game 2, the Dodgers showcased their base-stealing prowess, recording a total of seven successful stolen bases out of 11 attempts. Notably, Mookie Betts, known for his exceptional baserunning skills, contributed significantly by stealing two bases in the game. What set these steals apart were Betts’ impressive secondary leads of 26-plus feet on both occasions, demonstrating his ability to make significant jumps.

What is the most famous stolen base in baseball history?

One of the most iconic moments in baseball history involves the Dodgers’ manager executing a historic stolen base. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Boston Red Sox found themselves on the verge of elimination, trailing the New York Yankees 4-3 in the ninth inning of Game 4 after losing the first three games. This context sets the stage for what is widely regarded as the most famous stolen base in the annals of baseball.

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