Seldom do you see such a lopsided matchup as the Dodgers faced on Tuesday. Going up against Braves right-hander Spencer Strider, one of the finest starters in the big leagues, was highly-touted prospect Bobby Miller, making his major league debut.
Nevertheless, in a valiant effort from Miller, the offense, and the bullpen, the Dodgers knitted together a rather comfortable 8-1 win, their second win in as many nights at Truist Park in Atlanta.
An impressive performance against an ace
The Dodgers' offense inflicted the its damage against in the first two innings.
Mookie Betts got it going early, with a double down the left field line, and after Freddie Freeman moved him over, Will Smith grounded one through the infield in, to put the visiting side up 1-0. Strider showed why he leads baseball in strikeouts, getting both Max Muncy and J.D. Martinez to end the threat.
In the second inning, Jason Heyward turned on a well-located fastball up and in, for one of the more impressive homers of this season for the Dodgers.
Once again, after the Dodgers scored, Strider went out there and casually struck out the following two hitters, but an error left the door open for the top of the order.
Betts walked, and as both runners advanced on a wild pitch, with Freeman up, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker signaled for the intentional base on balls, to load the bases for the righty-on-righty matchup with Will Smith, and the Dodgers’ catcher made him pay.
One pitch is all Jason needed. pic.twitter.com/tWcotKSVGQ— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 23, 2023
Intentionally walk Freddie to face Will? Brave. pic.twitter.com/fpeL0u3HkU— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 23, 2023
After that, Strider would give up not much else, and in a night where he was kind of off, the Braves ace left with 11 strikeouts over six innings.
In the seventh inning, the Dodgers added an insurance run off reliever Colin McHugh, on a Max Muncy RBI single, his first hit since the series opener in St. Louis.
Freeman smacked a single in the ninth inning to extend his hit streak to 13 games. That hit plus a Muncy walk helped setup, Martinez, with a two-out, two-on, opportunity, and a home run later, the lead was at 8-1.
Bobby Miller’s strong debut in the lion’s den
It was a special night in Atlanta for the hard-throwing right-hander, Bobby Miller, as the highly regarded Dodgers prospect made his major league debut against one of the more potent offenses in baseball.
Through all of that, Miller labored and came out on the winning end, of a series-clinching victory, in large part thanks to his five very solid innings of work.
Miller calmed the nerves a little bit, with two groundouts to open the first, but as the Braves bats kept finding ways to square him up, with four hard-hit balls, the damage was done, on an Austin Riley double. Composure came in hand, as the righty got Eddie Rosario to end the inning.
Despite the high velocity, Miller’s fastball doesn’t generate the amount of swing-and-miss action you’d expect, and that showed tonight, as the Braves fouled off 16 heaters on 25 swings (out of 36 total thrown).
However, after those four hard-hit balls in the first, Miller managed to mix his stuff well to avoid barrels, allowing only a pair more, over the following four frames, and keeping the Braves off the scoreboard.
Miller’s night ended with five innings of work, earning his first major league win, allowing a baserunner per inning, on four hits, and a walk, while striking out five.
Home runs: Jason Heyward (5), J.D. Martinez (9)
WP — Bobby Miller (1-0): 5 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP — Spencer Strider (4-2): 6 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
The Dodgers now wrap up this series Wednesday night (4:20 p.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), as Tony Gonsolin will take the ball for Los Angeles. Bryce Elder and his 2.06 ERA across 52⅓ innings, one of the bigger surprises in the National League this season, starts for Atlanta.