Another long night for the Dodgers ended up victorious in Washington. After trailing twice, the offense backed up Emmett Sheehan’s rough start with plenty of run support to take the series opener.
Emmett Sheehan allowed two home runs Friday night and Dodger starting pitchers have allowed multiple home runs in five of the last eight games in total. Sheehan went 4 ⅓ innings with five earned runs and four strikeouts, which were the only runs allowed by Dodger pitching in this one. For Sheehan, it has been a very rocky first season in the big leagues and lately it seems like his command is not the same as it was in his first start, where he took a no-hitter deep into the game. As for the bullpen, they were lights out again with Alex Vesia, Victor Gonzalez (who came in after the long rain delay), Ryan Brasier, and Evan Phillips not allowing a single hit over the last 4 ⅔ innings.
The offense continued to mash in this series opener and showed that they might be back on track. J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup for the first time since August 19th and hit his 26th home run of the year in his first at bat. Freddie Freeman made history, breaking the single-season Dodgers doubles record with 53 on a hustle double that initially looked like a routine single. Not to mention, Max Muncy crushed his 33rd home run of the year and Kiké Hernandez added two hits and a homer of his own. I guess the starting pitching got the run support they needed and some…
The Dodgers are now 86-54, 13 games up in the National League West and their magic number is down to only 8.
Here are my three takeaways:
Freddie Freeman Makes History
In typical Freddie Freeman fashion, the hit that got him the doubles record was a hustle double that should have only been a single. It just goes to show what kind of player and character that this team has in their locker room. Freddie went 3-4 in this one, and even though it is the beginning of September and the Dodgers are many games ahead in their division, Freddie is still giving it his all.
J.D. Martinez Returns With A Blast
Of course J.D. Martinez comes back and immediately hits a homer to right center. The August run may have made Dodger fans forget, but Martinez was an All-Star this year and looked like the prime version of himself in spurts prior to the injury. When he went down, most thought that this team couldn’t replace him, and while they did go on a run, his power and savvy were sorely missed. Martinez says that his groin still has a little bit of soreness but it is nowhere near the pain that he was experiencing in the middle of August. It is great to have such a threat back in the middle of the lineup.
Let’s start with the bad news first. The Dodgers announced that Walker Buehler will not come back this season coming off of his second Tommy John Surgery. While this does hurt in the short term and dampen the staff going into the playoffs, I believe it is the best move for the longevity of his career. Having one Tommy John Surgery is enough, but two makes it very difficult to get back to the arm you once were. So for Buehler, it is best to rehab and come back full strength with well over a year of rehab as opposed to just 13 months like we are now.
Mookie Betts had a CT scan done on his foot that he fouled a pitch off of late in Thursday’s game and thankfully the results came back clean. Dave Roberts said that he will probably miss this series and maybe a part of the next series, but he is off of crutches and swelling has gone down.
As for Joe Kelly, he made a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday and threw a scoreless inning in his return. He allowed a single and threw only nine pitches. Kelly will be a great addition to a great performing bullpen if all goes well.
The Dodgers will send Bobby Miller to the mound against Jake Irvin for the Nationals. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. PT on Saturday.