Dodgers rally late to win series opener 2-1 in Kershaw’s return

© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Max Muncy provided all of the offense, Ryan Yarbrough coasted in relief, and Brusdar Graterol shut the door

LOS ANGELES — It sure is great to have Clayton Kershaw back. The hall of fame bound lefty threw a gem in  his first start in a month and a half to keep the Dodgers within striking distance, while the offense did just enough to squeak by the Rockies

The big news of the night was the Caleb Williams bobblehead giveaway at Dodger Stadium in the first game of a ten game homestand. Although a cool promotion, obviously I am kidding, as Clayton Kershaw made his return to the staff Thursday night. He picked up right where he left off, going five innings on 67 pitches, striking out four and only giving up the single run. His pitches were crisp, his command was excellent and there were no obvious signs of fatigue, which is an excellent sign moving forward.

As for the offense, well it was quiet for both teams in general. The Rockies scored their first run on a solo home run by the powerful Elehuris Montero, and the Dodgers promptly responded two innings later on a Max Muncy home run that just cleared the right field wall. 

Ty Blach, who has been a Dodger killer for years now going back to his time with the Giants, carved this hot Dodger lineup. He held them to just one run over 6 innings of work and put the Rockies in a great position to steal the opener. 

Much like Blach, the Dodgers had an answer to the Rockies lineup in the form of Ryan Yarbrough, who was magnificent Thursday night. After a great first outing against the Padres, he was once again on point, going three innings and only giving up one hit to keep the Rockies at bay. 

There was finally a breakthrough for the Dodgers however, as they rallied to load the bases in the 8th inning. Max Muncy worked a great leverage count for himself and drew a walk to give the Dodgers their first lead late. Muncy tied the game and won the game single handedly with his power and eye at the plate. 

Brusdar Graterol came on for the 9th inning after Evan Phillips was unavailable due to closing the last two games, and Graterol was electric, shutting the door on Colorado to give the Dodgers the close 2-1 victory.  

The Dodgers are now 9-1 in August, 68-46 and six and a half games up in the National League West due to the Giants having an off day. 

Here are my three takeaways:

Ryan Yarbrough Is The 2023 Tyler Anderson

It was a late move at the deadline when the Dodgers announced they acquired Yarbrough from the Royals, and not much was made of the move in the media. However, Yarbrough has posted two consecutive long relief appearances allowing only one run combined over 7 ⅓ innings. He is a “pitch-to-contact” type of arm, very similar to the finesse that Tyler Anderson showed in the 2022 season. Both guys don’t try to overpower the opposing hitters, and methodically use arm angles and deception to get people out. Thus far, you can add Yarbrough to the list of guys that the Dodgers essentially stole from other teams for cheap assets…

Freddie Freeman Continues To Hit Doubles

It is only August 10th and Freddie Freeman’s 43 doubles are tied for the 9th-most in franchise history. The record is 52 held by Johnny Frederick in 1929, but at this rate, Freddie is going to crush that record as much as he is crushing opposing hitting right now. He raised his average to .345 and drew two walks as well to continue his scorching stretch of hitting.

Brusdar Graterol Has Been Immaculate

Graterol lowered his season ERA to a staggering 1.62 and has allowed only one earned run since June 16th! That gives Brusdar almost two straight months of dominance after a right first couple of months. His fastball has excellent movement, with electric life to it and his offspeed pitches are pinpoint, leading to more strikeouts and weak contact. If Graterol can keep up his excellent stretch and more importantly, stay healthy, the Dodgers could have multiple great options to go to late in games from here on out. 

The Dodgers celebrate Fernando Valenzuela tomorrow with a pregame ceremony, as Lance Lynn looks to continue to pitch well against Austin Gomber for Colorado. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT on Friday.