On a fourth consecutive sweltering night at Dodger Stadium, it was perfect “tees off” weather in Los Angeles. The Giants did just that on Monday, slamming four home runs off Andrew Heaney in a 7-4 win in the series opener that raised more questions than answers.
September is about sorting out the roster for October for the Dodgers, especially on the pitching side, with several hurlers in various states of rehabilitation trying to make one final push for the postseason.
On one hand, Heaney stands out, with the highest strikeout rate on the entire staff (35.1 percent), and is apparently healthy after two long stints on the injured list with shoulder troubles, having made his last eight starts. He has 36 strikeouts against only three walks over his last four starts, so things should be looking up.
The Giants provided a bright highlighter for Heaney’s main issues of late, with Lewis Brinson and J.D. Davis taking him deep in a three-run third inning. Thairo Estrada and David Villar took him deep in a three-run fourth.
Heaney’s 11 home runs are tied for second-most allowed on the staff, though he’s only pitched 52 innings. Ten of those home runs are in his last four starts, during which Heaney has a 5.57 ERA, turning the Dodgers’ question from which role to use him in the postseason to whether they’d be comfortable pitching him at all in October.
Those decisions don’t have to be made now, obviously. There’s room in the schedule for Heaney to start four or five more times during the regular season in order to figure things out. By the end of that journey, the other pitching candidates should be more clear.
Despite the long balls, the Dodgers were in this game, though a few self-inflicted wounds handicapped the best offense in the sport.
Freddie Freeman got things started with a two-run home run to right in the first, cashing in a throwing error by Evan Longoria. That gave the Dodgers 97 first-inning runs on the season, tops in the majors and their most prolific inning. That was the 17th home run of the year for Freeman, whose homers have come in a few short bursts and several long droughts.
This home run was Freeman’s first since August 15, snapping a string of 19 full games and 87 plate appearances without. Freeman, who leads the majors in hits and doubles, was still reasonably productive despite not hitting any balls over the wall, hitting .317/.356/.390 with six doubles in between homers. That August 15 home run also snapped an 87-PA drought, during which he also hit six doubles.
Los Angeles got another run against Logan Webb in the fourth, but cost themselves further opportunities. Trea Turner had second base stolen with two outs in the third, only to briefly step off the bag while popping up from his slide. Inning over.
Joey Gallo’s double scored a run in the fourth and put runners on second and third with one out, only to see Miguel Vargas fly out meekly and Cody Bellinger strike out looking to end the frame.
Austin Barnes singled to open the fifth, then Mookie Betts doubled to left. With nobody out and Turner and Freeman due up, third base coach Dino Ebel sent Barnes home for some reason, where he was thrown out by a mile. The Dodgers did not score in that inning.
Barnes did get to score at his own pace in the seventh, hitting his third home run in his last seven starts, pulling the Dodgers to within two runs. Since the beginning of August, in 10 games, Barnes is hitting .382/.447/.706 with five extra-base hits.
- Caleb Ferguson, who opened Sunday’s game with three strikeouts in a perfect inning, got the final two outs of the sixth on Monday following Heaney, the first back-to-back outings for Ferguson in the majors this season. He also did so on May 27-28 with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- Justin Bruihl, called up earlier Monday, pitched the final two innings. The eighth was scoreless, but he allowed another home run to Brinson in the ninth, the fifth homer for the Giants on Monday.
- Five home runs are the most allowed by the Dodgers in a game this season. Five home runs also match a Giants high at Dodger Stadium, done also in 1999 and 2004.
Home runs: Freddie Freeman (17), Austin Barnes (7); Lewis Brinson 2 (2), J.D. Davis (9), Thairo Estrada (12), David Villar (2)
WP — Logan Webb (12-8): 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 6 strikeouts
LP — Andrew Heaney (2-2): 5⅓ IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
Sv — Camilo Doval (20): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts
Tyler Anderson has a 2.20 ERA in 11 games at Dodger Stadium this season, and he starts the middle game of the series on Tuesday (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network). San Francisco hasn’t named a starter yet, but expect several pitchers to take the mound.