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The Dodgers are grinding opposing pitchers to dust

Over eight runs per game has LA atop the NL West.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Dodgers’ offense is off to its best start in 127 years, and scoring runs at a near record pace to fuel a scorching 8-2 start to 2019.

Los Angeles finished off a three-game sweep against its main competition in the National League West, the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, and now stand atop the division yet again. Blunt force has been the Dodgers’ main weapon, bludgeoning teams with an endless offense. Here’s a look at some eye-popping stats from these first 10 games.

Runs, runs and more runs

Best 10-game starts in the modern era

Team Year Runs
Team Year Runs
Yankees 1932 90
Indians 1999 87
Dodgers 2019 84
White Sox 1901 84
Modern era: 1901-present Source: Baseball-Reference

Los Angeles has scored a whopping 84 runs through 10 games, an 8.4 average that leads the majors. The also hot Mariners have actually scored one more run than the Dodgers but have played one more game.

The Dodgers led the NL in runs scored in 2018 so LA pacing the league isn’t a surprise, but the sheer volume of runs so far is almost unprecedented. In baseball’s modern era (1901-present), only two teams scored more runs through 10 games than the Dodgers. The Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig-led Yankees in 1932 have the lead with 90 runs in the first 10 games.

Only twice have the Dodgers scored more than 84 runs in their first 10 games, and the last was in 1892, just their third year in the National League when they played in Brooklyn.

In 2018 only twice did a team score 84 runs over any 10-game stretch: one by the Dodgers, one by the Red Sox.

The Dodgers lead the majors in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.406), slugging (.592), OPS (.998), and wOBA (.418).

Opposing starting pitchers against the Dodgers this year have an 7.85 ERA while allowing 49 total runs in 47 innings.

Bellinger on fire

Cody Bellinger is on pace for 113 HR and 292 RBI.

Yes, it is ridiculously early in the season to even think about what a player is on pace for, considering we have only seen roughly 1/16th of the season. But still with numbers this gaudy, Bellinger certainly stands out, topping the majors in home runs (seven), RBI (18), runs scored (16), slugging percentage (1.023), OPS (1.523) and wOBA (.619), while second in batting average (.455).

To repeat, Bellinger’s slugging percentage is 1.023.

The only players with more home runs through a season’s first 10 games than Bellinger’s prodigious seven long balls are Mike Schmidt (1976) and Luis Gonzalez (2001), each with nine.

The latest was a picturesque beauty on Sunday night at Coors Field.

Long balls

Home runs have been the calling card for the Dodgers so far with 24 of them through 10 games, a total topped only by two teams in MLB history again including this year’s Seattle sluggers:

  • 2000 Cardinals (28 HR)
  • 2006 Tigers (25)
  • 2019 Dodgers (24)
  • 2019 Mariners (24)
  • 1997 Rockies (23)

The Dodgers last year led the National League with 235 home runs, setting a franchise record. But they didn’t hit their 24th home run of the season until their 26th game.

This year the Dodgers have homered in all 10 games while the Mariners have homered in all 11. The MLB record to start a season is 14 games with a home run, set by the 2002 Indians.

It’s not only home runs!

Yes the Dodgers have mashed taters at a prodigious rate, but they have not as the saying goes been too reliant on the home run. In fact the Dodgers have scored more runs when not hitting the ball out of the park (49) than they have on all their home runs (35).

If you take away all the Dodgers’ home runs, those 49 other runs would rank sixth in the NL in scoring.

With runners in scoring position the Dodgers are hitting .333/.431/.527.

Backstop support

The Dodgers are a team flush with depth, but the position at which they were presumed most vulnerable was catcher, especially after losing Yasmani Grandal. Los Angeles is making it work behind the plate with a combination of Austin Barnes and Russell Martin, both adept at pitch framing and getting on base while at-bat though both coming off disappointing offensive seasons.

But through the first 10 games of 2019, Barnes and Martin have been wonderful backstops, hitting a combined .419/.545/.774. Dodgers catchers rank second in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage,and OPS, and are third in slugging percentage.

Martin even pitched a scoreless inning, finishing off a blowout in the season’s third game, getting to close out a Dodgers’ win before Kenley Jansen.

Hot starts themselves don’t mean much, other than providing some early breathing room. The Dodgers saw the opposite first hand the last two seasons, with an 11-12 start in 2017 on their way to 104 wins, then stuck in the 16-26 doldrums in 2018 before rebounding with 92 wins and a sixth straight division title.

LA might very well win a seventh consecutive division title this year, and at the very least their 8-2 start is a nice early foundation.