Aug 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) raises his arms after he doubles in the twelfth inning against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers Going Up The Middle More Than Ever This Year


Here’s something interesting to think about. One of the Hitting philosophies of the Dodgers this season is to use the center of the field, or “go up the middle”. The Dodgers have been doing just that in 2013. The Dodgers have been going up the middle more than ever this season.

Every game we see the Dodgers pounding base-hits up the middle, or banging singles into center field. It’s become a routine almost. Using the middle of the field is a very smart strategy in my opinion. Think about it. Most teams don’t guard the middle of the field. They may guard the lines, play deep, bring in the infield, or play the shift, but most don’t think of up the middle. Most of the time that is.

But the Dodgers do, and they’ve been using it to their advantage all season long. Remember all of the games this year with hits up the middle? There have been a lot of home runs to straightaway center field also.  Just how much of an advantage has this given the Dodgers? Take a look at the numbers below.

The Dodgers rank second in the National League, and fourth in the majors in batting (.269) with 96 home runs, 1,095 hits, and 490 runs scored. Those are their overall numbers.  Now let’s take a look at how many hits are to center, and how many are pulled, or to the opposite field.

 

Hits to center field-408 (.347) 23 home runs,  88 Extra base-hits

Hits to Pull-410 (.340) 61 home runs, 143 extra base-hits

Hits to Opposite field-277, (.322) 12 home runs, 84 extra base-hits

For instance, 54 of Adrian Gonzalez’s 133 hits have been to center field. 37 of Skip Schumaker’s 67 hits are to center field. 37 of Carl Crawford’s 90 hits are up the middle. You get the idea.

 

Using the whole field is a great hitting strategy, but especially when you use the middle of the field as well. It can be a weak spot for many opposing team’s defenses. As you can see, the Dodgers have had just as many hits to straightaway center as they have had pull hits. Most teams will have more pull hits than anything else, but for the Dodgers to have as many hits to center than pull hits, is unreal.

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