The Dodgers on Sunday ran into many of the offensive problems that plagued them in June, with plenty of opportunities without cashing many in. But the big three at the top of the order set the table quite nicely.
For the first time since June 15, the Dodgers had Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Freddie Freeman in the same lineup. Betts reached base four times in his first game back, including two doubles, and he scored both Dodgers runs, driven in once each by Turner and Freeman.
The only thing different was the batting order. Betts was back in his customary leadoff spot, where he has batted in all 60 starts this year. Freeman batted second in each of the first 77 games of the season, but moved to third on Sunday, with Turner now batting in between them. That’s going to be the usual top three for a bit.
The lineup change came with input from the participants, with manager Dave Roberts telling Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, and others, “I had a conversation with all three of those guys. I think they’ve earned that right to be a part of the conversation. They feel great about it. To be quite honest, that was what their preference was.”
Betts and Turner both reach base four times on Sunday.
Old friend alert
Kyle Garlick was a 28th-round draft pick who debuted with the Dodgers in 2019, slugging .521 in 30 games as a rookie. He has six home runs in limited duty with the Twins this year, including a hit in two at-bats on Sunday. In parts of four major league seasons, Garlick has 14 home runs and a .471 slugging percentage in 266 plate appearances.
He talked with David Laurila at FanGraphs about how important reaching the majors with the Dodgers:
“Even though I had faith in myself, I had backup plans. When I went back to Triple-A in 2019. my thought was that if I didn’t get called up that year, I would give myself 2020. If I didn’t get called up then, I was probably going to hang it up. Luckily that didn’t happen. I got called up [in 2019] and that changed my life. I’ve been able to make myself a little career out of baseball.”
- Austin Barnes after Sunday’s game, about his his two-year, $7 million contract extension with the Dodgers, which will last through 2024. “They approached me a couple weeks ago. And I think it just made sense. I wanted to be here,” Barnes told reporters after the game, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
- In case you missed the several thousand words last week from ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, it’s worth the read, for a number of reasons. I particularly enjoyed this quote from Manfred on how being a punching bag for criticism to shield the owners is a key part of his job: “Every time it’s me, it ain’t one of those 30 guys — that’s good ... I believe they deserve that layer of protection. I’m the face of the game, for good or for bad.”
- MLB.com writers had a roundtable picking players they’d like to see in a Home Run Derby, a group that includes two players who were traded as teenagers by the Dodgers for middle relievers. But the most surprising note, at least to me, is that Mike Trout has not yet participated in a HR Derby.