Just like that, the Los Angeles Dodgers put Wednesday night's aggravating rainout in the rearview and swept Thursday's doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians with back-to-back bullpen games.
In the first contest, which was the resumption of Wednesday night's suspension that wasted a valuable Clayton Kershaw start, the Dodgers bullpen allowed zero runs behind showings from Victor Gonzalez, Gus Varland (another rookie, who went 1.1 innings and struck out three), Ryan Brasier, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol and Bryan Hudson.
Mookie Betts went 5-for-5 with two RBI and raised his season average to .308, firmly putting himself in the NL MVP conversation during a scorching hot August. Can't wait to see what he does to his former team, the Red Sox, in his return to Fenway Park this weekend.
But Game 2 was when the rookies came out and shined -- a delightful development for the team's future plans (and immediate future given all the injuries at the moment).
Michael Busch, who was recalled earlier in the week, ended up clocking the game-winning home run after breaking the tie in the fourth with his first career home run. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Tuesday, but bounced back and added a sac fly to extend the lead later in the game.
Dodgers rookies come up huge in doubleheader vs Guardians after rainout fiasco
Busch's contributions to the hottest offense in baseball are appreciated and welcome, but the Dodgers really needed help with their ailing pitching staff after losing Kershaw to the rainout (he pitched just two innings on Wednesday before the game was called).
Ryan Pepiot to the rescue! The rookie right-hander buzzsawed the Guardians in his first inning of work and then managed to finish with four innings of one-run ball on 76 pitches. He allowed just three hits and issued zero walks before turning it over to Evan Phillips to finish the job.
The Dodgers are going to need Pepiot swinging between the rotation and bullpen for starts and bulk outings, and this was a good showing for his second outing with the big-league team this season.
6-1 and 9-3 are your finals. The Dodgers win another series -- up next are the Red Sox, D-backs and Braves. They're hitting on all cylinders for a crucial stretch that will very likely play an immense role in playoff seeding. And the rookies are coming through. Life's good right now.