Miller delivers in Dodgers debut

The young right-hander became the first Dodger starter to record a win in his MLB debut since José De León in 2016.

MLB debuts are always fun, especially when the player is a prized pitching prospect. Bobby Miller took the mound on Tuesday night for the first time as a big leaguer as the Dodger offense exploded for eight runs. After dropping three of four games in St. Louis, the Dodgers have taken the first two in Atlanta.

Here are three takeaways from tonight’s win:

Miller dazzles in debut

Bobby Miller has arrived, and on Tuesday night, he was as good as advertised. The young right-hander became the first Dodger starter to record a win in his MLB debut since José De León in 2016. After a shaky start to his season in AAA, it was expected that Miller would need some time to work through the kinks before being promoted to the big league club. Things tend to change when you lose two key starting pitchers in a span of four days.

There aren’t many tougher places to make your debut than on the road in Atlanta. The Braves are right at the top of the NL with the Dodgers and have one of the best 1-9 lineups in the game. Outside of a two-batter stretch in the first inning, Miller essentially shut their offense down and displayed why his arrival has been anticipated since he was drafted in the first round out of Louisville.

He retired Ronald Acuña Jr. on his first pitch as a big leaguer, a 100 MPH fastball. Austin Riley jumped on an 0-2 fastball later in the inning, driving home Sean Murphy. One major difference between AAA and big league hitters; big league hitters don’t miss 0-2 mistakes. Miller wouldn’t allow another run over his next four innings. He stranded runners at third base to end both the third and fourth innings. Miller’s 95th pitch of the night would be his last, an 87 MPH slider in on Matt Olson’s hands, striking him out to end the fifth inning. Miller let out a roar.

Truly, Miller produced one of the better debuts in not just recent Dodger memory, but all of baseball. To anyone watching, it became clear that Miller was getting significantly more comfortable on the mound as the outing progressed. By the end of it, you never would’ve guessed that the guy on the mound was a 24-year-old making his MLB debut.

Dave Roberts confirmed postgame that Miller will make at least one more start with the Dodgers. If he keeps pitching like he did on Tuesday, I’m not sure he’ll be headed back to Oklahoma City anytime soon.

J.D. Martinez is scorching hot

A night after he went 4-5 with two home runs, J.D. Martinez did it again. With the Dodgers ahead 5-1 in the ninth, Martinez blasted a 405-foot shot over the wall in left-center field to break the game open. The homer was his fourth in as many games.

In eleven games since returning from the injured list, Martinez has now recorded at least one hit in ten and driven in at least one run in seven. With the home run, J.D. has either homered or doubled in five of his last six games. It is safe to say he is healthy and thriving in his role as the Dodgers’ DH. As the bottom of the Dodger order continues to struggle, it becomes increasingly important that the big bats at the top continue to produce. Getting J.D. back on track only helps lengthen the lineup.


Briefly mentioned above, the bottom of the Dodger order is really going through it. Tonight’s 7-8-9 hitters (David Peralta, James Outman, Miguel Rojas) went a combined 0-12, and somehow the Dodger offense managed to score eight runs. Relying solely on Betts, Freeman, Smith, Muncy and Martinez to carry the offensive load is going to catch up with the Dodgers sooner or later. It just isn’t sustainable over the course of a 162-game season. Baseball players are streaky. When you’re hot, the baseball looks like a beach ball. When you’re cold, you’re ice cold.

The Dodgers are going to need at least two of the struggling bats to get hot, whether it be Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, Austin Barnes, Peralta or Rojas. I’m not very worried about Outman. He’s having a very tough month of May, hitting just .190. That being said, this happens with rookies, especially those who burst onto the scene as Outman did. At a point the league starts to figure you out and find the holes in your swing. For Outman, it’s the high fastball. I know it, you know it, and most importantly, he knows it. It’s much easier to work out of a slump once you’ve identified the issue. Outman is one small tweak away from being a force in the middle of the order once again.

After taking both games started by their prized rookie pitchers, the Dodgers look to complete the series sweep tomorrow with Tony Gonsolin on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 PST.