Everything is bigger in Texas, and I guess that carries over to the offense for the Dodgers as well. In a series opener again between two of the best teams in the league and a formidable American League opponent in the Rangers, the Dodgers dug deep to pull out a great win.
The Rangers got out to a great start due to a two run home run by Nathaniel Lowe off of Tony Gonsolin in the 1st inning. The Dodgers however came back to take the lead in the 3rd on a Freddie Freeman double and J.D. Martinez single to make it 3-2.
In the 5th inning, things in the outfield got very interesting as Jonny Deluca, who was recently recalled, made back-to-back highlight reel catches to save extra bases and potentially a home run from Marcus Semien. Without James Outman patrolling center, the Dodgers had the large outfield in Arlington covered by Deluca and in a potentially dangerous spot for Tony Gonsolin, the two catches flipped momentum.
After Freddie Freeman tied the game with a solo shot in the 5th, Corey Seager went deep in the 6th to make it 5-4, and that is where things started to pick up offensively. J.D. Martinez walked and Mookie Betts scored, then Max Muncy got a run across with a groundout in the 7th to set up the monstrous 8th and 9th for this offense. 2 doubles by Will Smith and Mookie Betts, along with a single by J.D. Martinez broke the game wide open off of the Rangers bullpen, which has been a weak spot for them all year, and made it 11-5.
Tony Gonsolin kept the Dodgers in the game for most of this one, going 5 innings, giving up four earned runs and striking out six. The bullpen took over after that and stopped the potent Rangers offense in its tracks. A plethora of arms got to get some work Friday night, including Alex Vesia, Ryan Brasier, Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson, and Justin Bruihl, who closed out the game 11-5 and gave the Dodgers the opening victory in this series.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Jonny Deluca Makes Immediate Impact
Jonny is the 19th ranked prospect in the MLB Top 100 for a reason. Friday night, he made arguably two of the best back-to-back catches I have ever seen to save Tony Gonsolin. Not to mention, hitting a single at the plate to contribute as well. It is really good to have the insurance of Top 100 prospects that are ready to be called upon in the Dodgers farm, and with Deluca’s athleticism and excellent defense, he can be a great September callup down the stretch.
Freddie Freeman Is Back To Normal
It’s funny that one of the superstars doesn’t do well, and the other picks up for them right after. That is exactly what is happening right now for Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. Mookie has struggled slightly over his past 20 at-bats, but Freddie Freeman has been the complete opposite. Freeman has raised his average from .315 to .321 in around a week of play and is carrying the offense along with Will Smith. Freddie has stayed well above .300 for pretty much the entire year, but after one of his longest slumps right before the All-Star break, he looks like he has returned to his early season form again.
New Moves On The Basepaths
A staple amongst the team during this 2023 season has been the incorporation of David Peralta, but even more, his celebration. The choo-choo train celebration has taken Dodger fans by storm but it seems that Friday night, there has been a change. Freddie Freeman hit a double and as he stood at second base safely, he looked more like an auto center inflatable man as opposed to their usual train signal. Mookie Betts then also did the celebration after his three-run double in the 9th and it seemed like the guys were having a great time in that dugout. It’s also time for the fans to learn a new dance around town.