PHOENIX — In the first inning of the first game of their NL Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers forced an overwhelmed Taijuan Walker to throw 48 pitches, drew two walks and scored four runs.
In the first two innings of Game 2, they drew three walks off Robbie Ray who also threw a wild pitch and labored through 39 pitches.
In Game 3 on Monday night, the Dodgers the trend continued. Six of their first 11 batters took Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke to a full count. Greinke threw 29 pitches in the first inning, 54 just to get through the Dodgers’ lineup once and 71 through three innings.
“That’s the way our offense ticks,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said, champagne dripping from his beard in the post-game celebration Monday night.
“When we’re seeing a lot of pitches and taking walks and getting guys on base, that’s when we’re at our best. It’s not about getting 15 or 20 hits a night. It’s about taking walks – five, six, seven, eight walks. You get six, seven, eight hits to go along with that, that’s a pretty good night.”
The Dodgers’ offense stopped ticking in the final six weeks of the season. In September, the Dodgers had the lowest batting average in the majors (.223), the 24th-best on-base percentage (.306), the 23rd-best OPS (.705) and scored fewer runs than 21 other teams.
The relentless approach of June, July and August was gone – but not forgotten.
“We did win 12 of our last 18. I think that helped,” Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi said when asked how the “team offense” had been turned back on for the NLDS. “I think being in that environment in Colorado where they were looking to clinch (on the final weekend of the regular season) and playing some games with some fairly high stakes. That helped also.
“And really, the days we had off the workouts we had I thought really re-focused us. The coaching staff, the front office, the players were talking about how to prepare for this…