Three run fifth propels Dodgers past Cubs

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Yamamoto throws another gem as balanced offensive effort was enough to beat Cubs .

CHICAGO — Yoshinobu Yamamoto got his first major league win on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, while the Dodgers cruised to a 5-4 victory to tie the series. 

With a balanced effort on the offensive end, the Dodgers put up nine hits as a team with four players in the starting nine with multi-hit games.

Max Muncy’s two RBI led the way for an offense in the Dodgers that left nine men on base and got zero hits from their third and fourth hitters in the lineup. 

The pitching staff collectively was tremendous throughout, using five pitchers to only allow one run which was scored in the bottom of the ninth.

The Dodgers are now 8-3 on the season. 

Here are my three takeaways:

After his first start in Korea where he only lasted one inning, Yamamoto has rebounded in his last two. On Saturday, Yamamoto went five innings, allowing only three hits, and striking out eight en route to a dicey first major league win in Chicago. 

He loaded the bases twice with less than two outs and both times navigated himself out of the inning with zero damage done. While it would be great to see him limit the amount of runners on, if he can show that type of dominance while his back is against the wall, it will bode well for his confidence moving forward. 

After Yamamoto’s departure, the bullpen for the Dodgers was lights out. Over four innings, Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, Daniel Hudson, and Evan Phillips combined to only allow four hits and one earned run.

Brasier struck out the side in the sixth inning, Kelly struck out two in his one inning, Hudson struck out one, and Phillips closed out the game with one strikeout in the ninth inning. 

While much of the focus is on the revamped starting rotation, the Dodger bullpen has been excellent as well to start the 2024 season. While they do boast a 4.82 ERA, that is a bit inflated by a few bad outings. 

The reason Miguel Rojas has not been the solidified starter in the infield to start the year was his low offensive production last year (.236 BA). In 2024, he is hitting .385 with two home runs in five games played. 

Not just that, but his 1.400 OPS is the second highest on a team that employs Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Teoscar Hernandez. 

What Rojas has done to improve his offense so far in the early part of the season should net him some extra playing time, especially considering Gavin Lux has not been hot at the plate. 

The Dodgers finish this three game set in Chicago with Gavin Stone facing off against Shota Imanaga on Sunday. First pitch is set for 11:20 AM PST.