Dodgers 9 Phillies 4: Bats Stay Hot
By Alex Campos
The Dodgers took game one against the Phillies behind good pitching, good hitting and terrible defense.
The Dodgers got their bats going against Boston, and they kept them going early on in Monday’s opener against the Phillies. After Chase Utley flew out, Corey Seager hit his 20th homer of the season, setting a LA Dodger record for most home runs by a shortstop and tying him with Justin Turner for the team lead.
Turner nearly retook the lead one batter later, but the ball bounced off the wall for a double. Josh Reddick worked a walk, and Adrian Gonzalez poked a single to right to score Turner. Yasmani Grandal walked to re-load the bases, and Joc Pederson shot a single to the left-center gap to plate two more. Rob Segedin hit a sac fly to make it 5-0, and the Julio Urias grounded out to end the first.
The Dodgers did this damage against old friend Zach Eflin, who was one of the pitching prospects that came over in the Yasmani Grandal/Matt Kemp trade. Eflin was immediately flipped to the Phillies for Jimmy Rollins, and I’m sure a five-run, 36-pitch first wasn’t what he wanted.
The Dodgers jumped back on Eflin in the second, as Chase Utley led off with his eighth homer of the season. This was his first game against the team he spent the first 12 seasons of his career with, so that must have added a little sweetness to that.
Meanwhile, Urias had a very efficient 13-pitch first inning and worked around a couple hits in the second. However, he was the victim of some awful luck and poor defense in the third. Eflin led off with a broken bat nubber down the third base line, and the ball kicked off third base and ended up in a double. After a groundout and a walk, Urias got a slow grounder and Seager tried to go to second with it, and his throw was late. With the bases loaded, Urias got Tommy Joseph to hit back to the box for what should have been an inning-ending double play, but he threw well wide of home and two runs scored. Another cueball got past the shift to make it 6-3, but Urias got a pair of groundouts to end the inning. Urias basically got six groundouts in the inning which has to be a record, but it ended up as three runs on the box score (only one of which was earned).
However, the Dodgers led off the bottom of the third with yet another homer, this one off Grandal’s bat.
This is how a team can be good with six pitchers on the DL. Obviously, some of those numbers are sustainably high, but these five guys can carry a team. Yes, Grandal is hitting .235. Of catchers with >200 plate appearances, Grandal had the sixth-highest WAR and fourth-highest wRC+ entering today’s game. He’s sort of a predictable hitter which makes him prone to shifts, but there aren’t many better catchers in baseball than Yas if he’s healthy. Also stop using batting averages in arguments.
Urias recovered nicely from the unlucky third and gave the Dodgers five quality innings. He finished the night with the one earned run and five hits in five innings. He made 88 pitches and while he only struck out two batters, he did extremely well. Whether he gets another start in five days or not, we’ve seen what the kid can do and the soon-to-be 20-year-old should be a large part of the Dodgers’ future.
Seager also will be a very large part of the future, and he added a second homer in the seventh inning. He is very good at baseball. Grandal and Pederson crushed back-to-back doubles for a ninth run in the eight.
Urias only went five, but that wasn’t a terrible thing as the bullpen was great once again. J.P. Howell needed 14 pitches for a perfect sixth inning and Josh Fields followed that up with a perfect 12-pitch seventh. Pedro Baez allowed a homer in the eighth (but it was a low-leverage situation so oh well), and Josh Ravin allowed a triple in the ninth but kept the Phillies off the board to end the game.
Overall, the offense showed its potency once again. It’s these games that makes the recent series in Colorado even more annoying, as the Dodgers score nine runs in the three games combined. The Giants beat the Marlins in 14 innings tonight, so the Dodgers remain a game back. The Dodgers move to 63-49, which is a game better than they were a year ago and the same record they had two years ago.
Next: Dodgers Acquire Fields from Houston
The game ended on a bit of a sour note, as Grandal took a foul ball off the shoulder. He remained in the game, but a healthy Grandal is making a world of difference right now and if he’s not 100 percent, that hurts the offense a lot. Hopefully he’s not too sore tomorrow.
The Dodgers look to make it four in a row tomorrow night with Kenta Maeda on the hill.