On a great afternoon for baseball in Dodgers Stadium, the Dodgers and Nationals played just like the Dodgers Nationals. That statement doesn’t seem like much, but following back-to-back losses to the last-place Nats, the Dodgers needed some normality before heading on a road trip.
The Dodgers entered today’s game looking to avoid a sweep that seemed like a distant possibility before this series began, and it didn’t take very long to do so with a crooked spot in the first, and the rest of the game in cruise control en route to a 7-1 win.
The bats that were dormant through the first two games against Nationals pitching came alive in this one and did so early in the ball game.
Today’s pitching matchup was marked by beginnings and ends. Andrew Heaney looking to truly begin his promising Dodgers career after three successful, but scattered starts in the middle of two extensive IL stints. Heaney was carefully managed through this second trip to the injured list and came into this start with a very strict pitch count, expected to go roughly five innings and 75 pitches.
The Dodgers’ starter struggled a bit with his command allowing three walks over four frames but maneuvered through that pretty well as the Nats’ only managed one hit off of him.
Heaney continued his established trend of shelving the changeup and going strictly fastball-slider with 75-percent usage on the heater that earned an impressive nine whiffs on 20 swings by Nationals’ hitters.
If Heaney is able to stay healthy through the second half, he is showing that he can be a tremendous addition to this rotation, and help take some of the pressure off Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson, who have been asked to step up through all these injuries.
On the other side of the pitching matchup, it may very well have been the last outing from Patrick Corbin with the Nationals’ uniform, and if so its result is fitting with his recent struggles on the mound.
No one knows for sure whether Juan Soto will be dealt by Tuesday’s deadline, or whether Corbin would be a part of the deal, but Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s latest quote certainly doesn’t exclude that possibility, he maintained maneuverability with some clever phrasing.
The Nats’ veteran lefty struggled mightily and was ultimately unable to get out of the first inning, leaving having recorded only a couple of outs, and allowing more earned runs (six) than the entire Nationals’ pitching staff did through the first two games of the series (four).
Eight of the first 10 Dodger hitters reached base in the bottom of the first inning to help drive off Corbin, and before everyone could settle into their seats, the score was 6-0 and a Dodger win felt inevitable.
If there was something to lament over today’s events, is that through a period where the bullpen has been taxed, as was evident by the usage of recently called-up Garrett Cleavinger in a high-leverage situation up by one in the eighth on Tuesday night, and looking ahead at a four-game set in Coors Field, which is always a gauntlet, that Heaney wasn’t at a place where he could provide length for Dave Roberts, but that’s a bit of nitpicking.
Home runs: none
WP — Alex Vesia (3-0): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP — Patrick Corbin (4-14): ... IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk
The Dodgers now travel to Colorado for a four-game series against the Rockies. José Ureña will take the ball against Tyler Anderson for the opener on Thursday (5:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA).