Landon Knack's imperfect but promising MLB debut is good news for Dodgers

Apr 17, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Landon Knack (96) throws to
Apr 17, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Landon Knack (96) throws to / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers No. 13 prospect Landon Knack got the official call up to the majors on Wednesday morning, a day after fellow prospects Ricky Vanasco and Andy Pages (No. 3 in LA's pipeline), with all three set to get their big league debuts in LA's home series against the Nationals.

Vanasco went first in Game 1, pitching two hitless innings in the eighth and ninth, but the Dodgers' lineup couldn't get anything going to make up a two-run deficit. Pages started in center field in Game 2 and connected on the first pitch he saw for a single in his debut. Knack got the start on Wednesday in his first tryout to be a potential sometimes-starter for LA's depleted pitching staff.

However, his start didn't go as well as Vanasco or Pages'. An outrageously hot CJ Abrams grabbed a hold on a second pitch fastball right down the center, and all James Outman could do was watch it sail over his head into the stands.

Knack gave up a single to Jesse Winker, got Lane Thomas to fly out, then gave up another single. Joey Meneses (who, the SportsNet LA crew noted, had more strikeouts than hits going into Wednesday's game) drove in Winker on a sac fly to give the Nats a 2-0 lead. Knack finally got out of it by getting Nick Senzel to strike out swinging, but he also doled out his first walk one batter earlier. By the end of the first, he'd already thrown 28 pitches.

Landon Knack's MLB debut for Dodgers was imperfect but showed real signs of promise

He righted the ship in the second inning, striking out his first batter quickly, forcing his second into a groundout, and punching back at Abrams by getting him to fly out to right. In the meantime, Dodgers batters threatened but still couldn't turn opportunities into runs. In the first two innings, they were 0-4 with runners in scoring position.

Knack's third and fourth innings were clean as well; by the end of the fourth, he'd sat 10 Nationals batters in order, which Eddie Rosario broke up with a single in an ultimately scoreless top of the fifth.

That second-pitch home run to Abrams certainly wasn't how Knack wanted to kick off his major league debut, but he managed to hold off a potential carousel of trouble in the first inning and stabilize significantly. If we have to blue sky here, we could say that all he needed was some knocking around in the first to motivate him through the rest of his outing.

The Dodgers have showed no hesitation in sending players back to Triple-A so far this season, but Knack's clean slate after the initial shock of being in the majors might be enough to keep him up while LA waits for their injured starters to be ready to go again.