The Dodgers’ bats finally woke up in the eighth inning, as timely hitting helped them pick up the 5-2 win over the Rockies.
Entering the eighth inning, the Dodgers were 0-for-17 in the series with runners on base. Well, that streak eventually had to come to an end... and it did. After finishing Friday with zero walks, the Dodgers walked eight times on Saturday night, including two times in the eighth inning.
After Max Muncy reached with a single, Mookie Betts and Justin Turner reached with walks to load the bases for Will Smith. Daniel Bard was struggling with control for the Rockies, as he fell behind in the count to Smith 3-1. Smith, who has been fantastic since the All-Star break, connected on a sinker and hit a single, bringing in two runs to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Yet again, ‘Doctor Clutch’ came up big time.
“I feel pretty confident in those situations,” Smith said following the game. “I’ve had a lot of success. I feel like I’m not afraid to fail in that moment. Just able to stick to my approach, swing at the right pitches and not expand the zone. Good things will happen.”
Will Smith in late and close situations this year: .333/.438/.712/1.150.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 29, 2021
(Late and close: Plate Appearances in the 7th or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck)
“I have the confidence that he’s going to stay in the strike zone,” Dave Roberts said. “When they make a mistake, he’s ready to fire. That happened tonight and it’s happened many times for Will.”
AJ Pollock added an insurance run later that inning, as his RBI single gave the Dodgers a three-run lead.
Whether it was a three-run lead or a one-run lead, it looked safe with Kenley Jansen on the mound in the ninth inning. He retired the side in order, throwing 12 of his 14 pitches for strikes. For Jansen, it was the 341st save of his career, tying him with Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers for 14th most all-time.
After a rough stretch in July, Jansen has looked like what we saw in the first half. Since July 24, he’s 8-for-8 on saves and owns a 1.80 ERA. His WHIP is 0.93 and he’s averaging 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
“He’s passed the test of time,” Roberts said. “If you look at closers over the course of 10 years, that’s a select group that can be elite. Tip my hat to Kenley for the longevity and consistency.”
Corey Knebel was the opener for the Dodgers and did exactly what they wanted. He gave them 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings. Following Knebel was David Price, who pitched a bulk of the innings. Price went 3 2⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on only two hits. He threw 63 pitches before being removed.
Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl and Blake Treinen combined to throw 2 2⁄3 innings without allowing a hit.
WP: Blake Treinen (4-5) 1 IP, 0 ER
LP: Daniel Bard (7-7) 3 ER, 2 H, 2 BB
SV: Kenley Jansen (29) 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 SO
HR: Chris Taylor (19)
The Dodgers will go for the series win on Sunday. Mitch White will be activated and start for LA. It will be his first outing since August 18 when he tossed 7 1⁄3 innings of scoreless ball.