Victorino starting to fix what troubled him

U.S. Presswire/Gary Vazquez

Shane Victorino (center) has had much to celebrate of late for the Dodgers.

The Shane Victorino that the Los Angeles Dodgers have seen in the last five games is the kind that could make a significant impact on the 2012 pennant race.

Victorino’s homer capped a three-RBI night in the Dodgers’ win over the Pirates on Monday night and is part of a nifty statistical surge on his part.

Victorino has swung at 36 pitches in this stretch and only missed one. He’s 8-for-22 in this span with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs.

The fifth-inning home run came on a 3-2 slider from opposing starter Jeff Karstens, the second hit Victorino had with a two-strike count in the game.

After going hitless in his first nine two-strike at-bats with the Dodgers, he has gotten back to his past success. He is 6-for-his-last-12 in two-strike counts.

Of Victorino’s 10 home runs this season, seven have come with two strikes. That’s one shy of his career high of eight two-strike home runs, done in 2007.

Los Angeles Dodgers

August OPS Leaders

The primary issue that has kept Victorino’s numbers down this season has been his struggles with right-handed pitching. But the home run gave him seven hits in his last 21 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

Earlier in the game, Victorino had a double against a fastball from Karstens, only his seventh extra-base hit against a fastball from a right-hander all season, and his first in nearly a month.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement for Victorino in his area. His .280 slugging percentage against fastballs from righties this season is tied with Mike Aviles of the Boston Red Sox for the lowest among all batting-title qualifiers this season.

It’s a massive drop from what Victorino used to do against fastballs from righties. The previous three seasons, his slugging percentages were .583, .514, and .431.

But so far, the Dodgers should be happy with their returns from Victorino. His .759 OPS is the third-highest among Dodgers this month, trailing Matt Kemp and A.J. Ellis.

Both Dodgers midseason acquisitions intended to boost its offense have paid off so far. Hanley Ramirez has done his share with 18 RBI in his 18 games with the team.

The ultimate proof is in the Dodgers win-loss record, which is 7-4 in Victorino’s 11 games.