LOS ANGELES — After dropping three of four to end their ten game road trip, the Dodgers returned to Chavez Ravine on Memorial Day looking to get back on track. Young right-hander Bobby Miller made his second career start, his first at Dodger Stadium, and all he did was build on an incredibly impressive MLB debut. The Dodgers used a big 5th inning to go home with the victory, 6-1.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Bobby Miller is here to stay
The Dodgers are no stranger to impact rookies. Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger won back-to-back NL Rookie of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017, and as of today, James Outman and Miguel Vargas have the second and fourth best odds to win the award this year. If Bobby Miller can keep this up, his name will be thrown right into that conversation.
Six days after winning his MLB debut on the road in Atlanta, Miller made his first career home start on Memorial Day. To say the young right-hander was outstanding would be selling him short. Miller allowed one run on a 2nd inning single by CJ Abrams. Outside of that, he threw like a seasoned veteran, not allowing a runner to pass second base throughout the final four innings of his start. Through two starts, Miller has recorded wins in both, gotten through at least the 5th inning in both, and has lived up to the hype that comes with being a top prospect.
It is no secret that the back end of the Dodgers’ rotation is razor thin. With Julio Urias and Dustin May on the shelf, the team called on both Miller and Gavin Stone. The two rookies have had polar opposite starts to their career, but Miller’s start has been much more surprising. This isn’t to say Stone will not be a good MLB starter. I have complete confidence in him to turn things around. Rookie starters are never this sharp this early, yet Miller has done it twice. I can all but guarantee that nobody in the Dodgers’ front office expected this level of dominance this early at a time when the Dodgers needed it most.
Next up for the confident rookie; a start against the Yankees on Sunday.
5th inning explosion
All six of the Dodgers’ runs were scored in the 5th inning thanks to some help from the Nationals defense. Following a leadoff walk to Jason Heyward, Miguel Vargas hit what seemed to be a tailor-made-double-play to empty the bases. The grounder kicked off of CJ Abrams’ glove and tricked into center field. Heyward never broke stride, taking advantage and advancing to third base on the play which proved to be crucial. He would score on a James Outman sacrifice fly to tie the game, 1-1.
The Dodgers have struggled all year to drive runners in with two outs. They currently rank in the bottom third of the league in runners left in scoring position per game, leaving over 3.5 runners per game. Tonight was a different story,. Five of the Dodgers’ six runs came with two outs. Freddie Freeman drove in two on a double down the right field line, and J.D. Martinez blew the game open with his 11th homer of the year, a three run shot that put the Dodgers ahead 6-1.
Scoring in one of eight innings at-bat is never a positive, but when you put up a six spot, you can afford it.
LA’s other “Miller”
As good as Bobby Miller has been, it would a shame if Shelby Miller went unmentioned. Miller made another scoreless appearance on Monday night, his 21st appearance of the season, and has been quite the pleasant surprise for the Dodgers. Through 25 innings, Miller has allowed nine total hits and struck out 24.
His control is a slight concern, as he has walked 17 hitters. That being said, the Dodgers took a flier on a guy who had made a combined 17 appearances over the last two seasons, signing him to a one-year, $1.5 million contract this offseason. The expectations for the journeyman could not have been lower. Now a third through the season, he’s turned into one of Dave Roberts’ most trusted relievers with an ERA currently sitting at 2.52.
Tony Gonsolin takes the mound tomorrow night. Fans should arrive early to make sure they receive their Julio Urias City Connect jersey giveaway. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PST.