LOS ANGELES — In the Dodgers’ final homestand before the playoffs, Los Angeles beat their division rival San Francisco Giants 7-2 to open the series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night. The Dodgers were able to rebound from the loss in the last game of the series against the Tigers making six wins in the last seven games.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is in his seventh year at the helm, emphasized that the team is focused on closing out the regular season strong with 10 games left while also being mindful of the playoffs.
Though the team had success, pitching remains one of the big question marks surrounding the Dodgers as October approaches. Dodgers’ star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is slated to start on Saturday against the Dodgers after nursing an elbow injury that sidelined him for all of July. The Dodgers recently had to part ways with Julio Urias and it was confirmed that Walker Buehler will not return to the Dodgers this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season.
As a result, Roberts has been heavily rotating the starting pitching lineup and young players like rookie Bobby Miller have been stepping up to the plate.
On Thursday, Emmet Sheehan got the start against San Francisco for the second time this season. He notched a career-high nine strikeouts and no hits through 4 ⅔ innings before Roberts brought in Alex Vesia.
“I build confidence every start, but for sure the last two have been great,” Sheehan said. “That’s helped me a lot.”
Sheehan became the first player in Dodger history, who allowed no-hits in at least four innings.
“He was fantastic tonight,” Roberts remarked. “I thought from pitch one, the conviction, the fastball had true life to it. All the secondaries, the slider, the changeup down below. … He pitched a heck of a ballgame.”
With another strong performance, Sheehan is making a case for being a part of the Dodgers’ lineup during the playoffs.
“He’s right there in the conversation,” said Roberts. “He does something different in the sense that, I think in the organization he’s probably got one of the top fastballs in all of our organization and on this team.
J.D. Martinez continues his hot streak
J.D. Martinez had a solo home run and two RBIs to add to his hot streak for the Dodgers. His homer at the bottom of the fourth gave the team a 2-0 lead over the Giants. He finished the night with three RBIs on the night and has tallied 95 RBIs in 104 games.
Brusdar Graterol celebrates reuniting with his mom
Dodgers pitcher Brusdar Graterol, who was born and raised in Calabozo, Venezuela continued the week-long celebration of reuniting with his mother after seven years as she threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It was an emotional week for Graterol and his mother, Ysmalia, who was the 25-year-old’s baseball trainer and mentor growing up. She was able to watch her son pitch in the MLB for the first time.
Heading into Thursday’s matchup, the Giants had beaten the Dodgers in four of six games this year, including a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium in June. It was the only time that Los Angeles was swept all season. With the Giants’ playoff aspirations in the balance, there were a few “uncharacteristic errors” that the Dodgers were able to capitalize on to secure the win including back-to-back wild pitches in the 7th inning that led to two home runs.
Los Angeles trails the Atlanta Braves by three games for the top seed in the National League. If the Dodgers are able to close the three-game gap, it would earn the team a first-round bye. The Dodgers clinched the 10th NL West Division title in 11 years on the road against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. The team is just six games shy of crossing the 100-game win mark on the season.