More home runs for Turner, more strong starts from LA pitchers
The Dodgers lost exactly one game for the third straight week, and own the best record in Major League Baseball. But it was still a costly week. Cody Bellinger was already on the injured list after getting spiked in his left calf, but he went from very likely not playing against San Diego to out at least 1-2 more weeks with a newly-discovered hairline fracture in his leg. Gavin Lux then hurt his wrist, which affects him more batting than fielding, and he’ll miss another week on the injured list.
So there are cracks forming, though the Dodgers’ foundation remains strong. The backbone is the rotation, with the starters lasting six innings in 13 of 16 games this season, and posting a 2.29 ERA last week.
With no Bellinger, and with Lux missing time, the offense still managed five and a half runs per game, even with scoring only two runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Zach McKinstry continued to fill in as a utility player, and Luke Raley chipped in with his first major league home run, the latest from the Dodgers’ 2016 MLB Draft to make the majors.
The Dodgers have won all five series so far this season, and though admitting the raucous weekend atmosphere at Petco Park felt like a playoff-caliber rivalry, the team continued to contend they are taking things one day at a time.
“We don’t look outward for an edge. I think we’re really good about focusing on how we play, and the brand of baseball we play,” manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. “There’s certainly series or teams that will be more magnified, but we’ve done pretty well in the last five years when the Padres weren’t as good. So I think that we’re going to keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing.”
Batter of the week
Justin Turner has always been a slow starter in the power department, but this year he’s having the best opening month of his career. Just this last week, Turner was 9-for-20 (.450) and his three home runs in five games — one of which landed in nachos — matched his career total in all of his previous Aprils combined, with a .378 slugging percentage in 480 plate appearances compared to .482 for his other months.
“I don’t know if he’s doing anything different. I do know that his body looks much different than it has in the last few years,” Roberts said. “He’s always been productive, but he hasn’t slugged [in April]. I know Justin, and he doesn’t put too much weight in the past. I guess it’s a law of averages type thing, that he was bound to slug at some point in April.”
Pitcher of the week
Trevor Bauer has been effective in all four of his starts with the Dodgers, including in his two outings last week. He allowed only one run in 13 innings against the Rockies and Padres, striking out 16 along the way.
Honorable mention goes to Clayton Kershaw, who pitched six more scoreless innings and has an active 18-inning scoreless streak, and to David Price, which went a week without pitching but then was thrust into action three times in four days, striking out eight in four scoreless innings, collecting both a save and a win in relief.
Week 1 results
33 runs scored (5.50 per game)
18 runs allowed (3.00 per game)
.752 pythagorean win percentage
Year to date
90 runs scored (5.63 per game)
52 runs allowed (3.25 per game)
.732 pythagorean win percentage (12-4)
A rare Price: David Price on Jackie Robinson Day — a day on which he, Mookie Betts, and Dave Roberts donated their daily salary to The Players Alliance — closed out the sweep of the Rockies, collecting his first save since Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS. One night later in San Diego — just the third back-to-back appearances of his career — Price pitched two scoreless innings for the win, and drove in the second run of his career with a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning, hit to pitcher Joe Musgrove in left field.
Patient pitchers: Clayton Kershaw walked with the bases loaded on Saturday against the Padres, which was the only run for either team through the first eight innings. It came against the last Dodgers pitcher to draw a bases loaded walk: Yu Darvish, who did the deed in Game 3 of the 2017 NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Earned & unearned: Sunday provided an accounting nightmare of sorts in the eighth inning, which started with Corey Seager’s throwing error allowing Jurickson Profar to reach first base against Scott Alexander. San Diego scored three runs later in the inning, with a walk and two hits against Dennis Santana. Because those runs scored with two outs, all three runs were unearned for the team. But because the two runs charged to Santana’s ledger reached base without help, he personally gets charged with two earned runs, thanks to MLB Rule 9.16(i):
When pitchers are changed during an inning, the relief pitcher shall not have the benefit of previous chances for outs not accepted in determining earned runs.
It is the intent of Rule 9.16(i) to charge a relief pitcher with earned runs for which such relief pitcher is solely responsible. In some instances, runs charged as earned against the relief pitcher can be charged as unearned against the team.
That’s why the total of the individual pitcher earned runs below (15) don’t match the team number (13).
Saturday: Alex Vesia was called up for his first stint with the Dodgers, giving the team 14 pitchers as Matt Beaty was optioned.
Sunday: Vesia’s first stint with LA lasted one day without pitching in a game, as he was optioned Sunday, while Brusdar Graterol was activated from the injured list. Gavin Lux was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Friday, with right wrist soreness, with infielder Sheldon Neuse recalled.
Sunday: Pitcher Ashton Goudeau, who was claimed off waivers from the Giants on April 10, was placed on outright waivers by the Dodgers, removing him from the 40-man roster. The Rockies claimed Goudeau, which brought the right-hander back to where he ended the 2020 season. Since November, waivers brought Goudeau from the Rockies to the Pirates to the Orioles to the Giants to the Dodgers to the Rockies.
- Tuesday: Dodgers 7, Rockies 0
- Wednesday: Dodgers 4, Rockies 2
- Thursday: Dodgers 7, Rockies 5
- Friday: Dodgers 11, Padres 6 (12 innings)
- Saturday: Dodgers 2, Padres 0
- Sunday: Padres 5, Dodgers 2
The Dodgers run the Ben Davis gauntlet, finishing off the road trip with a two-game series in Seattle, followed by an off day then another series against the Padres, this one for four games in Los Angeles.