Dodgers down Athletics in series opener, 7-3

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lance Lynn throws a solid seven innings and Freddie Freeman gets four hits in the win.

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are back in the win column. Led by the offense of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the boys in blue got a much needed series opening victory. 

It was deadline day Tuesday, and the Dodgers’ newest pitching acquisition Lance Lynn made his debut, going seven innings, giving up three runs and striking out seven. For a staff that needs all it can get at this point, and after a disappointing deadline day, this team needed a guy to go seven and Lynn delivered. 

While it wasn’t a perfect start, it was certainly one of the better starts for a Dodger pitcher in their last ten games. Lance Lynn is the first Dodger starter since Clayton Kershaw on June 20th to complete seven innings. While he did give up three home runs, it didn’t really make a difference on the outcome of the game, and to see a starting pitcher limit a team to three runs and go deep into a game, it was a refreshing sight for Dodger fan’s eyes. After Lynn gave the team a bulk of the innings, it was smooth sailing for the bullpen to close out a 7-3 victory Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman dominated on the offensive end Tuesday night. Freeman had four hits, two runs, and a stolen base, while he and Mookie Betts combined for six of the seven Dodger hits. Mookie launched a late no-doubt home run to extend the lead late as well to give him twenty nine on the season. 

The Dodgers win their 60th game of the year and lead the National League West by 2 1/2 games over their rival San Francisco Giants.

Here are my three takeaways:

Lance Lynn Was Solid In His Debut

I was the first one to criticize the Dodgers for making the deal to acquire Joe Kelly along with Lance Lynn. The pitching numbers were not even average in most categories and he was an older arm that gave up too many home runs. Tonight, Lynn proved why he can reverse that fortune and bring some value to a pitching staff that needs help. He was pinpoint early, and struck out seven A’s hitters in total, but ended up fizzling out in the back end of the start. He gave up three home runs in two innings to finish his outing and lost a bit of his sharpness from earlier in the game. However, if we look at the totality of the situation, having a starter give you seven innings while only surrendering three runs is a huge win for the team. I look forward to seeing him progress.

James Outman Is Having Great At-Bats 

Something has flipped in James Outman and I have to give credit where it’s due. The approach is simpler, the swing is shorter and even in tough situations at the plate, Outman is looking more and more comfortable at the plate. He is not forcing anything like he did in his month-long slump, and is now picking better pitches to swing at and taking more pitches that result in walks. I have absolutely loved his progression as a major league hitter and am excited to see how he develops as the season goes on. He is locked in right now.

Deadline Day Is Disappointing 

Besides the best part of Tuesday for the Dodgers, which was a win in a series opener, the earlier part of the day was filled with disappointment. The biggest move of deadline day was…Ryan Yarbrough. While Yarbrough has been pretty good in his last five starts since coming off of the IL, that was not really the plan coming in. The Dodgers were in on just about every big name starter at the start of the day and ended up with none of those options. Andrew Friedman has been known to make big splashes at the deadline, recently acquiring Manny Machado in 2018 and Trea Turner and Max Scherzer in 2021. 

This year, with a chance to dramatically improve the starting pitching (which is in desperate need of help), the Dodgers ended up passing on all of the big time guys. Justin Verlander was sent back to the Houston Astros, Jack Flaherty was sent to the Baltimore Orioles, and Dylan Cease and Mitch Keller stayed with their respective clubs. Eduardo Rodriguez was dealt to the Dodgers from Detroit but ultimately declined to join the team and flex his no-trade clause. I do not agree with the decision to stay away from that group of elite arms, especially in a race where every team will be going all in. Waiting for 2024 or not, this current 2023 team deserved more at the deadline and we will wait to see if the smaller deals pan out. 

It is Filipino Heritage night at Chavez Ravine Wednesday night as Tony Gonsolin takes the mound for the Dodgers against Hogan Harris for the Athletics. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT.