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Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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Dodgers Week 20: Extra effort & a winning road trip

LA won 5 out of 6 in Philly and New York last week

It would have been easy to focus on what the Dodgers were missing last week, as injuries continued to mount. But despite the setbacks, the team thrived in a 5-1 road trip against the Phillies and Mets.

Mookie Betts’ troublesome hip landed him back on the injured list, and he was diagnosed with a bone spur. He didn’t play all week. Justin Turner had his first extended time on the shelf this season with a groin injury, missing four full games and all but one inning of a fifth. But he returned to the lineup on Sunday night by homering and reaching base four times.

On the pitching side, Clayton Kershaw’s absence has long been known, but Monday’s procedural move to the 60-day injured list put a firm earliest possible date of his return: September 5. That wait was expected, but now is official. What wasn’t expected was Julio Urías getting hit by a pitch on his left calf, which landed him on the injured list Saturday. He could miss only one start, but the Dodgers truly are in scramble mode when it comes to pitching.

Despite the attrition, and two long rain delays in Philadelphia throwing a wrench into pitching plans, the Dodgers only allowed just over two runs per game during the week, even with rookies pitching a third of the innings.

A pair of rookies have worked their way into higher-leverage roles in the bullpen. Phil Bickford was a waiver claim off the Brewers on May 3, and all he’s done is pitch in over half (38) of the Dodgers’ (72) games since joining the team, the second-most games pitched in the majors during that time. Alex Vesia struggled in May with control, but after five weeks in Triple-A has become a strike-throwing machine.

Bickford (2.08 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 31-percent K rate) and Vesia (2.81 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 34-percent K rate) have two of the top three strikeout rates on the active roster among pitchers with at least 10 innings, trailing only Max Scherzer (34.8 percent). Those two each pitched in three games last week, and were front and center in Saturday’s win, each retiring all four batters they faced to get from the eighth inning to two outs in the 10th.

Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Mets
Phil Bickford has been both durable and effective for his favorite team growing up.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

“They’ve played a huge part in where we’re at,” manager Dave Roberts said of Bickford and Vesia. “It’s really fun to see guys who, before the season started, I didn’t know who they were, and to play such an impactful role for our club is really fun to see.”

The Dodgers also got Corey Knebel back after missing 92 games, and he fit right back into high-leverage roles, pitching three times during the week.

Strong pitching and a mostly productive offense helped the Dodgers not only win a pair of series, but they also got the extra-inning monkey off their back with 10-inning triumphs both Friday and Saturday in New York. Those wins snapped an 11-game losing streak in extra-inning games that dated back to April.

They won two of the three one-run games during the week, and won the three other games by at least five runs each. That’s a productive week.

Batter of the week

Will Smith homered in all three games against the Mets, including the game-winner in the 10th inning on Friday and the club’s only run in the first nine innings on Saturday.

Pitcher of the week

Max Scherzer was electric on Tuesday before rain prematurely ended his night in the fourth inning. Then he followed up Sunday with six strong innings, pitching out of jams mostly created by poor defense.

Week 20 results

5-1 record
36 runs scored (6.00 per game)
14 runs allowed (2.33 per game)
.849 pythagorean win percentage

Year to date

72-46 record
619 runs scored (5.25 per game)
426 runs allowed (3.61 per game)
.665 pythagorean win percentage (78-40)

Miscellany

Extra, extra: In the fourth inning in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Dodgers pitcher David Price came to bat with two outs and Matt Beaty on first. Price doubled to dead center off Kyle Gibson to drive in the third run of the inning.

“I was walking up to the plate in my second at-bat, and Doc [Dave Roberts] is just screaming at me to drive him in,” Price said. “It didn’t feel as good as the one in LA, but that was my first double, and my second RBI, so that was really cool.”

Price’s first extra-base hit of his career was a 100.3-mph line drive, five days after he hit a 105-mph single against the Angels at home. “He’s got a two-game hitting streak,” Roberts pointed out after the game.

Grab a bat: A pair of Dodgers relief pitchers batted for the first time in the majors this week. Justin Bruihl on Tuesday drew a five-pitch walk in just his second major league game. His only other trip to the plate as a professional came earlier this season, on July 9 for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He also walked that time up.

On Wednesday, Brusdar Graterol was great on the mound with two perfect innings. In between, he batted for the first time in the majors. He ultimately popped out, but the at-bat was most notable for how anxious Graterol was to swing at the very first pitch he saw.

Edwin Uceta had already batted three times earlier this season, but his infield single off Geoff Hartlieb in the eighth inning on Sunday was his first major league hit. Uceta is the fifth Dodger to collect his first major league hit in 2021, along with Luke Raley, DJ Peters, Garrett Cleavinger, and Phil Bickford.

Say what now?: Chris Taylor on Friday against the Mets doubled in the sixth inning, then alertly took third on an errant throw from catcher James McCann back to the mound. That prompted Buster Olney of ESPN to unleash quite a comparison, for which he provided an explanation.

Transactions

Monday: Clayton Kershaw and Danny Duffy were transferred to the 60-day injured list, assuring their returns won’t come before September 5 and September 15, respectively. Pitcher Conner Greene was claimed off waivers from the Orioles. Catcher Anthony Bemboom was claimed off waivers from the Angels, and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Tuesday: Corey Knebel rejoined the bullpen after missing 92 games, activated off the 60-day injured list. Joe Kelly was placed on the IL with no injury designation.

Tuesday: Greene was added to the active roster, and outfielder Zach Reks was optioned to Oklahoma City.

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mookie Betts is eligible to be activated from the injured list as early as August 18, but as of now there is no specific timetable for his return from hip inflammation.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday: Mookie Betts was placed on the injured list with hip inflammation for the second time in three weeks. Edwin Uceta was activated off the IL to join the bullpen.

Thursday: Mitch White was recalled from from Triple-A to start Thursday’s game, and Kevin Quackenbush was designated for assignment.

Saturday: Julio Urías was placed on the 10-day IL after getting hit by a pitch on his left calf, and utility man Zach McKinstry was recalled from Triple-A.

Saturday: Bemboom was outrighted off the 40-man roster.

Sunday: Darien Núñez was activated off the IL, giving the bullpen a fresh arm. McKinstry was optioned to Triple-A after one day back in the majors.

Game results

Week 20 batting

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
J.Turner 5 1 2 0 1 2 0 2 7 0.400 0.571 1.000 1.571
Smith 19 5 7 0 3 8 0 4 26 0.368 0.500 0.842 1.342
Seager 25 6 8 3 1 2 0 4 29 0.320 0.414 0.560 0.974
Muncy 25 7 6 1 3 5 0 2 28 0.240 0.321 0.640 0.961
Bellinger 24 4 6 3 2 5 0 2 26 0.250 0.308 0.625 0.933
T.Turner 26 7 7 2 0 3 1 1 29 0.269 0.310 0.346 0.656
Pollock 21 0 5 0 0 3 2 1 22 0.238 0.273 0.238 0.511
Taylor 27 1 5 2 0 1 0 2 29 0.185 0.241 0.259 0.501
McKinney 16 1 1 0 0 1 0 6 23 0.063 0.304 0.188 0.492
Starters 188 32 47 11 10 30 3 24 219 0.250 0.342 0.479 0.821
Beaty 7 2 4 0 1 2 0 1 8 0.571 0.625 1.000 1.625
Pujols 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800
Barnes 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0.500
Bench 16 3 7 0 1 2 0 1 17 0.438 0.471 0.625 1.096
Pitchers 12 1 2 1 0 2 0 2 16 0.167 0.313 0.250 0.563
Offense 216 36 56 12 11 34 3 27 252 0.259 0.349 0.477 0.826

Week 20 pitching

Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Urías 1 0-0 5.0 2 0 0 2 5 0.00 0.800 2.37
Buehler 1 0-0 7.0 4 1 1 3 10 1.29 1.000 3.46
Scherzer 2 1-0 9.3 7 2 2 2 13 1.93 0.964 1.03
Price 1 0-0 4.0 5 2 2 1 1 4.50 1.500 3.42
White 1 0-1 4.0 3 2 2 3 4 4.50 1.500 6.67
Starters 6 1-1 29.3 21 7 7 11 33 2.15 1.091 2.93
Vesia 3 1-0 4.0 1 0 0 1 7 0.00 0.500 0.42
Bickford 3 1-0 3.3 2 0 0 2 4 0.00 1.200 1.67
Treinen 3 0-0 3.3 1 0 0 2 4 0.00 0.900 2.57
Jansen 2 1-0 3.0 0 1 0 2 2 0.00 0.667 2.84
Uceta 2 0-0 2.7 1 0 0 1 5 0.00 0.750 0.54
Knebel 3 0-0, Sv 2.0 2 0 0 1 4 0.00 1.500 0.67
Greene 2 0-0 2.0 2 0 0 0 2 0.00 1.000 1.17
Graterol 3 1-0 3.0 1 1 1 0 5 3.00 0.333 -0.16
Bruihl 3 0-0 2.0 2 3 2 3 2 9.00 2.500 4.17
Núñez 1 0-0 0.3 1 2 2 2 0 54.00 9.000 21.17
Bullpen 25 4-0 25.7 13 7 5 14 35 1.75 1.052 1.73
Totals 31 5-1 55.0 34 14 12 25 68 1.96 1.073 2.37

Previous reviews: Apr. 1-4 | Apr. 5-11 | Apr. 12-18 | Apr. 19-25 | Apr. 26-May 2 | May 3-9 | May 10-16 | May 17-23 | May 24-30 | May 31-June 6 | June 7-13 | June 14-20 | June 21-27 | June 28-July 4 | July 5-11 | July 12-18 | July 19-25 | July 26-Aug. 1 | Aug. 2-8

Up next

The Dodgers return home to run the Donn Clendenon gauntlet, hosting the Pirates for three games and the Mets for four at Dodger Stadium. Three of the seven games figure to be of the bullpen variety for the Dodgers. Andre Jackson, who is on the 40-man roster, could make his major league debut during the week, but if he does he will be joined by many, many others trying to fill innings.

Week 21 schedule

Mon, Aug 16 Tue, Aug 17 Wed, Aug 18 Thu, Aug 19 Fri, Aug 20 Sat, Aug 21 Sun, Aug 22
Mon, Aug 16 Tue, Aug 17 Wed, Aug 18 Thu, Aug 19 Fri, Aug 20 Sat, Aug 21 Sun, Aug 22
vs. Pirates vs. Pirates vs. Pirates vs. Mets vs. Mets vs. Mets vs. Mets
7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 1:05 p.m. 1:10 p.m.
Bullpen v. Price v. White v. Buehler v. Scherzer v. TBD v. Price v.
Brault (L) Crowe Brubaker Walker Carrasco Hill (L) Stroman
SNLA SNLA SNLA SNLA/MLBN* SNLA/MLBN* SNLA/FS1 SNLA
2021 results

September 17: Dodgers at Reds

Starting Lineups

Chris Taylor out of Dodgers lineup for 6th straight game

Dodgers Game Previews

Walker Buehler looks to add on to Cy Young case