Finally, a true blowout win from the jump for this team. Jason Heyward came through early for the Dodgers, blasting his ninth home run to dead center to break the game open in the 2nd inning. After him, the offense passed the baton, as Freddie Freeman and Will Smith both singled to make it 5-0 early. It was a huge inning to give Dodger pitching some cushion and Michael Grove cruised after that.
The Orioles got a run in the bottom half on an Aaron Hicks double to make it 5-1 but that is all they would get until the 8th inning. In the 6th inning there were a couple of failed rallies, one for each team, as the Dodgers loaded the bases and were unable to get a single run across and the Orioles had two on with nobody out and also failed to get a single run in. The game could’ve completely turned one way or the other with each team getting a few runs, but both bullpens did their job and prevented any further damage.
The Dodgers then scored a combined 5 runs in the 7th and 8th innings to break the game wide open, led by J.D. Martinez, Chris Taylor, and Will Smith and go ahead for good. That 6th inning was the last major threat of the game for Baltimore however as Yency Almonte, Phil Bickford, and Nick Robertson closed out the game to seal a blowout victory Tuesday night.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Michael Grove Finds His Groove
In my opinion, this was the best outing of Michael Grove’s career. According to Dodgers Daily, he hit as high as 96.5 mph on his fastball and landed it 67% of the time. Those numbers are a high increase from what his normal numbers have been, and an excellent sign of things to come. Whether he has figured it out mechanically or with his pitch assortment, there should be a lot of optimism from Dodger fans about this kid. He has the stuff and the makeup, and has shown it in flashes. Now, he is putting it together in consecutive starts and lowered his ERA a whole point in his last 4 starts.
Will Smith is Getting Hot
Coming out of the All-Star break, it took a little bit of time for Will Smith to get back to All-Star form but now he is heating up again. He started the Mets series 0-8 but went 2-3 Monday night against Baltimore and 4-6 Tuesday night and looked locked in at the plate. There is a reason he is regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball: he hits. If Will Smith can stay hot like he was earlier in the year, having him behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup will stay being a lethal combo.
Jason Heyward Continues His Comeback Year
Heyward hit his ninth home run of the year Tuesday night, a 3 run bomb to center and raised his OPS to .817. In his last two years with the Cubs, he had nine home runs total over 504 plate appearances. This year, he now has nine home runs in just 221 plate appearances. His approach seems simpler, his stance seems quieter, and his attitude seems more focused and determined. Usually the Dodgers turn guys into reclamation projects and reinvigorate their careers and they have done just that with Jason Heyward. Not to mention, he is an excellent clubhouse presence, still an elite outfielder, and best friends with Freddie Freeman. It is always good to surround your stars with familiar faces…
Julio Urias looks to continue to build strong performances as he takes the mound for the Dodgers against Dean Kremer of the Orioles Wednesday. First pitch is set for 10:05 a.m.