The Dodgers struggle against left-handed pitchers. That’s what the numbers say and what the Washington Nationals will test when they send Gio Gonzalez to start Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Gonzalez will be the 47th left-hander to start against the Dodgers this season. Against the first 46, the Dodgers have batted .235 with a .662 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. That’s 20 points lower in batting average and .91 lower in OPS than they had against right-handed starters during the regular season.
The difference is even larger when relief pitchers are included. Overall, in more than 1,800 regular-season plate appearances against left-handers, the Dodgers hit .213 with a .622 OPS. The next-worst major league team, a rebuilding Philadelphia, logged a .246 batting average with a .666 OPS.
Against right-handers, the Dodgers hit .264 with a .772 OPS. The power gap was particularly pronounced. They had a .443 slugging percentage against right-handed pitching, above the overall major league average, and a .332 slugging mark against left-handers, well below average.
Both of the numbers against left-handers were the worst in the major leagues by considerable margins. Both of the numbers against right-handers were among the top five.
Only Yasiel Puig hit better against left-handers than right-handers, although switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal’s statistics were similar.
Puig, who is expected to start against left-handers during the playoffs, had a .784 OPS against lefties and a .715 mark against right-handers.