Dodgers cruise to win against Rockies behind Yamamoto

Bottom of the lineup produces as the Los Angeles Dodgers get back on track with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out seven and the unsung heroes at the bottom of the lineup came through, lifting the Dodgers to get a bounce back 4-1 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers (37-23) had four runs on 11 hits even though Mookie Betts went hitless. The bottom of the lineup provided some much needed production as Andy Pages went 3 for 4 and Teoscar Hernandez went 2 for 3.

The right-handed Yamamoto was in early trouble, much like Friday’s start by Walker Buehler. But after allowing an early run, Yamamoto settled and gave the Dodgers six innings, striking out seven and walking one.

Yamamoto eclipsed his career-high in pitches in the MLB with 101.

Daniel Hudson, Blake Treinen and Evan Phillips followed Yamamoto with three shutout innings. They combined for three strikeouts. 

Here are the takeaways:

Yamamoto grows in each start

This is the third straight start that Yamamoto has thrown at least 100 pitches. His ERA has dropped to 3.32 and while there have been some shaky moments early in his outings, he has recovered very well. 

He commanded the strike zone incredibly well Saturday night and utilized his fastball and splitter, collecting a 66% strike percentage and inducing 12 strikeouts. 

As he continues to mold into a major league pitcher, the signs of him learning from mistakes and building upon them are there. His ERA continues to lower as he gets deeper into games and lengthens out his arm. 

Bottom of order produces

The Dodgers’ bottom of the lineup has had its struggles all season. Yet, Andy Pages, who is 8 for 14 in his last three games, has found his stroke again, hitting .257 after a slump that left his batting average in the .230 range.   

Jason Heyward has come on as of late after a pair of home runs in the past week and Saturday’s 1-for-3 game with a walk.

The “other guys’ for the Dodgers have to continue to produce, especially with the minor slump that the superstars are having. 

Kershaw closing in on return

Dave Roberts said veteran left-hander Clayton Kershaw touched 88 mph in his simulated game at Dodger Stadium and will go through one more simulated start, throwing two innings.

He will then play rehab games at Rancho Cucamonga. Roberts said Kershaw is still at least six weeks away from joining the major league club.

These updates tend to indicate that Kershaw is ahead of schedule and, if all goes well, he should be back by late July. 

The Dodgers will look for a series win at 1:10 p.m. Sunday, sending right-hander Gavin Stone (5-2, 3.16 ERA) to face Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber (1-2, 2.76).