Dodgers could break franchise grand slam record this year

Chris Taylor hits his first of three grand slams. (Photo: Janine Roach)

The 2017 Dodgers have been breaking records at a furious pace, and one of the incredible accomplishments by this team has been their propensity to hit grand slams. They’re fourth in the league in slugging percentage (.496) and OPS (.838) with the bases loaded, and their 13 extra-base hits with the bases loaded is fifth-best in the NL. The Blue Crew has time left during the regular season to try to tie or best the Dodgers’ franchise record of ten grand slams in a season, set by the 2004 Dodgers. Chris Taylor also could set a new Dodgers’ individual single-season grand slam record by hitting a fourth slam before the end of the season.

The most grand slams in a season by a MLB team is 14. The 2000 Oakland A’s and the 2006 Cleveland Indians both hit 14 grand slams in a season. The record for the National League is 12 grand slams in a season, accomplished by the 1997 Braves and the 2000 Cardinals.

Let’s go back and take a look at the eight grand salamis the Dodgers have hit this season, a team accomplishment that should be duly documented. Starting off with Joc Pederson‘s Opening Day grand slam, the first grand slam of the 2017 MLB season. The line-drive slam in the bottom of the third inning set the tone for the rest of the year, one filled with memorable comeback wins, unbridled young talent, unexpected heroes and historic performances.

April 3

Pederson’s grand slam gives the Dodgers a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning vs. San Diego.

The Dodgers made a statement to start the season. They hit four home runs, the most in franchise history on Opening Day. Pederson broke the 1-1 tie with the Padres in the third inning by taking Jhoulys Chacin deep with a 359-foot shot to right field. It was the first grand slam hit by a Dodger on Opening Day since Eric Karros in 2000. Pederson’s outlook for the 2017 season was good despite a minor groin issue in Spring Training and early in the season. Unfortunately, Pederson struggled offensively this season, and he was subsequently sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City on August 19 to work on his ever-changing swing. He rejoined the Dodgers on September 5 and will compete for a postseason roster spot this month.

(Exit velocity: 111 mph; Distance: 359 ft.; Launch angle: 18°)

May 6

Cody Bellinger launched a grand slam over the right-field wall to put the Dodgers up 10-1 in the top of the 9th vs. San Diego.

Bellinger surpassed Mike Piazza and set the Dodgers’ franchise record for most home runs by a rookie in a season with 36 and hit for the cycle this season. One of those 36 long balls was of the grand slam variety, the first of his career. Somehow he was able to stay above a shoulder-high 95-mph Miguel Diaz fastball on a 0-2 count. It was Belli’s fifth home run of the season, and the third in the first two games of the series against the Friars at Petco Park.

(Exit velocity: 98 mph, Distance 384 ft.; Launch angle: 34°)

May 8

The Dodgers jump out to an early lead with a six-run 1st inning, highlighted by Taylor’s first of three grand slams in 2017. The Dodgers defeated the Pirates 12-1.

Taylor didn’t make the club out of Spring Training, but since being recalled on April 19, he has 19 home runs — three of them slams — and a .896 OPS in 119 games and 436 at-bats. It’s hard to imagine the Dodgers without him at this point. He’s not going to reach the single-season MLB record set by former Dodger manager Don Mattingly, but he does have the chance to set the Dodgers’ all-time single-season record with a fourth grand slam.

Donnie Baseball hit six grand slams in 1987, the only slams of his career. Travis Hafner also hit six grand slams in 2006 for the Indians. The NL record of five grand slams is shared by Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs in 1955 and Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009.

Alex Rodriguez has the record for most career grand slams with 25.

(Exit velocity: 99 mph, Distance 391 ft.; Launch angle: 31°)

June 3

Taylor hit a go-ahead grand slam to center field to give the Dodgers a 10-8 lead in the top of the 9th inning for a shocking 10-8 win over the Brewers.

Taylor crushed a go-ahead grand slam on a Carlos Torres cutter, part of a five-run ninth inning comeback against Milwaukee at Miller Park. This was the same night as Edinson Volquez‘s no-hitter against Miami and a record-breaking seven grand slams were hit by teams in the MLB. The Dodgers, Brewers, Braves, Rockies, Cubs, Mariners, and the Angels all had one grand slam. Albert Pujols hit his 600th career home run as well.

(Exit velocity: 106 mph, Distance 430 ft.; Launch angle: 20°)

June 11

The Dodgers erased a 7-3 deficit with a six-run rally in the 8th inning, capped off by Corey Seager‘s grand slam.

Seager hit his first career grand slam against Reds closer Raisel Iglesias in an eighth-inning rally by the Dodgers in L.A. The comeback victory gave the Dodgers the series sweep over Cincinnati, and was one of many wins over the season that featured Seager’s consistent offense. Kenley Jansen also notched his 200th save in the game.

(Exit velocity: 101 mph, Distance: 398 ft.; Launch angle: 29°)

June 30

Austin Barnes clubbed a grand slam to left-center field to hand the Dodgers an early 4-0 lead in the 1st inning vs. the Padres (again).

Barnesy, the best backup catcher a team could have. His versatility and framing skills set him apart from other catchers. He’s quietly putting together an excellent season, hitting .294/.402/.480/.882 in 81 games. His first career multi-home run game included a grand slam off Clayton Richard in the first inning.

(Exit velocity: 98 mph, Distance: 390 ft.; Launch angle: 34°)

July 1

Taylor crushed a grand slam to deep left field to give the Dodgers an 8-0 lead in the top of the 7th inning vs. San Diego.

Taylor did it again. His third grand slam of the season, fourth of his career. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register asked Taylor why he thinks he hits so many grand slams:

“Coincidence? I don’t know,” Taylor said when asked to explain his grand abilities. “I don’t think I do anything different with the bases loaded. I try not to do too much. I just try to put the ball in play and I guess I’ve run into a couple.”

Taylor tied, and could still break, the Dodgers’ record for most grand slams hit in a season by a player. Kal Daniels (1990), Mike Piazza (1998) and Adrian Beltre (2004) all hit three grand slams in a season as well.

(Exit velocity: 107 mph, Distance: 396 ft.; Launch angle: 24°)

Aug. 21

Curtis Granderson launches a grand slam to right-center field, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead in the 7th inning vs. Pittsburgh.

The most recent of the eight Dodger grand slams this season came off the bat of Granderson, a late-season acquisition from New York. He became the first player in MLB history to hit two grand slams for two different teams in a four-game span. The Grandyman took Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole deep in the seventh inning, setting up Yasiel Puig‘s extra-inning homer to seal the deal for the Dodgers in twelve innings.

(Exit velocity: 101 mph, Distance: 404 ft.; Launch angle: 31 °)

——

The Dodgers have certainly been frustrating to follow lately during their recent skid, but there’s no reason to fret too much. This team hit eight grand slams, a byproduct of their historic offensive dominance. With 24 games remaining in the regular season, they still have a shot to tie or break the Dodgers’ single-season record of 10 grand slams on their way to clinching their fifth consecutive NL West title.

Postseason slams are TBD. The last Dodger to hit a postseason grand slam was James Loney‘s bomb off Ryan Dempster in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS in Chicago.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.