by Rowan Kavner
In the first inning of Sunday’s 13–0 drubbing of the Diamondbacks, a Dodger defender seldom seen at second base made a play that Dave Roberts believed “changed the landscape of the game.”
Mookie Betts, who was manning the unfamiliar spot to prevent the wear and tear on his bothersome hip with the turf outfield at Chase Field, drifted back toward center field for an over-the-shoulder grab to prevent a runner from getting in scoring position. He also reached base three times in his first game back from injury since July 19 and was one of four Dodger batters with multiple hits in a victory that sealed the series win to cap the road trip.
The addition of Albert Pujols injected energy into the clubhouse earlier this year. Now, the returns of Betts and Corey Seager from the injured list, as well as the anticipation of soon-to-debut deadline acquisitions Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, are doing the same.
“When you get into August and get through September, that infusion of new players and players off the IL gets you through those dog days,” said manager Dave Roberts.
Pujols continues to make an impact in his part-time role, recording five hits and six RBI over the weekend including a bases-clearing double Sunday as part of a five-run second inning that broke the game open. The hit came on the 10th pitch of the at-bat and the 70th pitch of Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith’s first two innings. Smith lasted only 1 2/3 innings against a patient Dodger offense that recorded five walks and three hits against him.
The Dodgers are accustomed to those types of breakout innings this year. Sunday was the 24th time they’ve scored at least five runs in an inning. This time, they also tacked on with runs in each of the final five innings.
Lengthy innings offensively didn’t bother Dodgers starter Julio Urías, who’s demonstrating no signs of slowing down. After allowing one run in each of his previous two outings, the 24-year-old lefty — who has already thrown 50 more regular season innings than ever before — struck out seven batters in five shutout innings. He departed at 83 pitches to get extra rest in the thrashing.
“I feel good. I feel strong,” Urías said through a translator. “Going out there and doing whatever I can to help the team win and give them as much as I can and looking forward to what comes next. I feel strong and healthy and ready for whatever role I’m in going forward.”
AJ Pollock, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner continued their standout seasons, starting August where they left off in July. Pollock, who had a 1.121 OPS last month, increased his on-base streak to 20 games and his hitting streak to 11 games with a four-hit day. He has a .447 batting average during those 20 games.
Pollock’s .888 OPS on the year trails only Max Muncy (.971) and Turner (.890) for the highest mark on the Dodgers.
“He’s doing all of it,” Roberts said. “He’s carrying us right now.”
Turner also bolstered his numbers visiting the home bullpen with a home run for the second straight game to join Muncy in the Dodgers’ 20-homer club. Turner finished the day with a team-high four RBI and leads the team with 65 RBI for the year.
Pollock, Turner, Taylor and Betts each finished with multi-hit games. Pollock recorded two RBI doubles. Betts, who was 12-for-17 with seven extra-base hits in his last five games before going to the injured list, ended the scoring with a home run off position player Bryan Holaday.
Betts said Sunday was “huge for his mental” being able to contribute the way he did after missing 11 games with hip irritation. He helped the Dodgers split the road trip and is expected to return to his normal position in right field after Monday’s off day when the Dodgers welcome the Astros to town.
“I think we just have to start playing with more urgency and getting some things to turn our way instead of waiting for it,” Betts said.
Dodgers trample Diamondbacks in series win to finish road trip was originally published in Dodger Insider on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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