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In a record year for home runs, Dodgers might need to slug their way to a title

By in Press Enterprise on October 4, 2017

By J.P. Hoornstra

LOS ANGELES – The last time the Dodgers won the World Series, in 1988, Kirk Gibson led the team with 25 home runs and won the National League Most Valuable Player award. The player with the next-highest home run total on the team was Mike Marshall, with 20. John Shelby was next on the club with 10.

It is safe to say that if the Dodgers return to the World Series this year, it won’t look the same.

More home runs were hit this year – 6,105 of them – than any season in baseball history. Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 by himself and might not be the National League’s MVP. The Dodgers contributed to the trend by hitting a franchise-record 221 home runs. Only one team in the National League playoff field, the Chicago Cubs, hit more.

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The architect of those ’88 Dodgers, Fred Claire, has watched the rapid evolution of offense in awe.

“The change in the game has never been as dramatic as what it is right now, and more impacted by analytics and technology,” Claire said. “The understanding of launching balls is dramatic, as we’re seeing in those numbers.”

But how did baseball arrive at this point? And what does it mean for the Dodgers’ quest to return to the World Series?

Speaking before a September game at Dodger Stadium, […]    

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