Dodgers drop depth charge and three bombs on Rockies, win 7th straight
The scouting report on the Dodgers’ winter makeover: The team would have deeper pitching, better defense and not as much power.
Check. Check. And oops.
The Dodgers lead the National League in home runs. The team that dumped Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez hit three more home runs Sunday, powering up in a 7-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers completed a series sweep and extended their winning streak to seven games. They lead the NL West and open their next series Tuesday in San Francisco, where the defending World Series champion Giants have fallen into last place — six games out of first, two weeks into the season.
The Dodgers’ power surge has not just surprised outsiders. Yasiel Puig was fairly startled to hear Sunday afternoon that his team led the league in home runs.
“Wow,” Puig said. “Who’s raking home runs?”
Puig mentioned one name: Adrian Gonzalez, who hit five in the first three games. But Gonzalez has not hit one since, and Puig has not hit one in six days.
The home runs Sunday came from Howie Kendrick, Scott Van Slyke and Joc Pederson — all in the sixth inning, as the Dodgers turned a 2-0 lead into a 7-0 rout. Within four batters, the Dodgers had three homers — as many as the Milwaukee Brewers have all season.
The Dodgers also had seven doubles, one shy of the Los Angeles record. The Dodgers lead the league in runs, doubles, walks, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Their league-leading OPS (on-base plus slugging) is .885; the next-best team is Colorado, at .744.
Dodgers management is wary of claiming too much success two weeks into the season. This is a front office that is well aware of small sample sizes. But it also is a front office well aware of depth, the area on which the Dodgers focused last winter, while the San Diego Padres were collecting stars, and headlines.
“We feel like we have a very deep lineup,” said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. “We have seen a number of guys step up in the early going, which speaks to the depth of our lineup and bench.
“The quality of our at-bats has been tremendous and has played a large role in the offensive success we have enjoyed to date.”
With Kemp and Ramirez gone, the Dodgers’ power was supposed to be gone too.
“I’ve already explained it a million times,” Gonzalez said. “We lost two guys and gained four.”
Pederson, the new center fielder, and Kendrick, the new second baseman, each hit his second home run Sunday. Yasmani Grandal, the new catcher, and Jimmy Rollins, the new shortstop, each has one.
“You make it up incrementally,” said Brandon McCarthy, who pitched six shutout innings for the victory, “whether it’s going to be one guy hitting 30 or 40 [home runs] or a bunch of guys hitting 10 to 15.”
Kemp hit 25 last year. The injury-prone Ramirez hit 13, although Van Slyke gave him credit for the home runs he could hit when healthy.
“You’re definitely subtracting 25 and 25,” Van Slyke said. “I guess we’re just spreading it out.”
The day spotlighted the diversity of the Dodgers’ offense. They got nine of their 14 hits from backups: Van Slyke, infielder Justin Turner and catcher A.J. Ellis. The only position player not to reach base: Gonzalez, who went 0 for 5. His batting average dropped from .523 to .469.
But a seven-game winning streak makes for a light clubhouse. Gonzalez made the third out in each of his at-bats, so he playfully hollered at a team publicist, wanting to know if he had set a record by making the third out five times in eight innings.
“Let’s find out,” Gonzalez said, smiling. “I want that one.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.