July 28, 2020 at 11:23 pm
Dodgers win! In a tense and impassioned ballgame, Los Angeles’ bullpen leads the way with 5 and 2/3 innings of 1-hit ball, shutting down the Houston Astros enroute to a 5-2 victory in the first game between the two at Minute Maid Park since the 2017 World Series cheating scandal news emerged. Getting the start and beginning his 2020 campaign on his birthday was Walker Buehler, who easily hit 95 on the radar gun in a 1-2-3 first inning of work after the Dodgers went down quickly off of Framber Valdez. In the top of the second, a Corey Seager walk and an AJ Pollock single (his first of 3 on the night) set the table for Kiké Hernàndez, who lined out a few feet in front of the warning track — some solid contact to the opposite field. In the bottom of the inning, Buehler hung a slider to Carlos Correa who (surprisingly, without knowing it was coming) crushed a homer to left field, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead. Buehler would then strike out a pair to finish the inning and Will Smith, Mookie Betts, and Max Muncy all lined out sharply in a quick top of the third. In the bottom half, Buehler struck out Kyle Tucker before finishing off a quick frame. LA went down quickly again, with more hard contact though, to begin the fourth. In the bottom half, Buehler worked 2 quick outs before allowing a single to Michael Brantley and walking Yuli Gurriel on 4 pitches. A few moments later, Correa singled to center and Bellinger’s throw home was just late, allowing Houston to grab a 2-0 lead. Buehler was pulled early due to a rising pitch count that was limited to 75 before the ballgame, and his night ended as follows: 3.1IP, 2ER, 3H, 1BB, 3K. It is no question that the now 26-year-old will be frustrated with his performance and is motivated to come back stronger in his next start. Adam Kolarek entered and on the second pitch he threw, Corey Seager robbed Josh Reddick of an RBI knock with a diving catch. To begin the fifth, LA now down 2-0, Seager singled on a sharp line drive to center. 4-pitches later, Pollock snuck a grounder through the hole, and the Dodgers were in business. After a mound visit, Hernàndez would also single, and the bases became loaded. Smith lined out to right field, but the runners remained stationary. With the top of the order coming up, Dusty Baker turned to his bullpen in the form of Enoli Paredes. Paredes walked Betts on 4 pitches, and LA sliced their deficit in half. Max Muncy tied the game on a fielders choice, when Alex Bregman’s throw home after fielding a groundball was dropped at the plate. Moments later, down 0-2 in the count, Justin Turner poked a single through the right side, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Cody Bellinger did the same, ripping a single towards the same spot, and the boys in blue, fueled by a beautiful display of small ball, grabbed a 4-2 lead. Chris Taylor would soon after walk on 4 pitches to extend their lead to 5-2. Brusdar Graterol, calmly sitting at 100mph, struck out a pair and worked a soft ground-out in a shutdown bottom half, keeping LA in front through five. They went quickly in the sixth, and Joe Kelly entered for the home half. After working a first-pitch pop-out of José Altuve, Kelly walked Bregman on 4 pitches, the final of which was (very) up and in and just missed hitting the third baseman in a dangerous location. After rolling-over Michael Brantley for out number 2, Kelly walked Yuli Gurriel on 4 pitches as well, all of which were up and in. Kelly would escape the jam by striking out Correa on a knuckle-curve to finish the frame. While walking back to the dugout, the two locked eyes and began a jawing match following a pair of condescending faces made towards Correa by Kelly. This sparked an argument between the two, and ultimately led to a COVID-friendly benches clearing. Once the issues were resolved and everyone returned back to their respective dugouts (and bullpens), Betts led off the seventh with a single. After Muncy walked, Turner popped-out and Bellinger grounded-out. Taylor would then reach on a walk before being struck by a Corey Seager line drive, unfortunately causing the inning to end with LA still up 5-2. Caleb Ferguson entered to pitch the bottom half of the seventh and was in control, striking out the side swinging. In the eighth, Pollock singled and Betts doubled, but the Dodgers couldn’t score an insurance run. Blake Trienen entered to shut down the bottom half and did just that, working around a walk with a trio of soft ground-outs. The game remained 5-2 after the top half of the ninth, and Kenley Jansen entered for his first save opportunity of 2020. Jansen, with electric movement on his cutter to coincide with a strong running 2-seamer with tail, worked around a double with a soft fly-out and a pair of pop-outs. Jansen, putting an end to the ballgame, earned his first save of 2020 and put the finishing touches to a strong performance on both sides of the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Following a statement victory, the Dodgers will look to sweep this quick 2-game series in Houston tomorrow. For LA, Dustin May gets the nod, hoping to have a repeat performance of his outstanding Opening Day outing from last week. May, attacking hitters with high velocity, nasty movement, and strong command of the strike zone, sets himself up for long-term success. He’ll oppose Cristian Javier, a Dominican-born right hander who makes his first career start at age 23. First pitch will be at 4:10pm. Go Dodgers!
- This discussion was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by _rexkap.
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