Hunter Greene’s record speed thrills but Julio Urías outduels him in Dodgers victory
It’s likely no one has compared Julio Urías to a tortoise. Because he hails from Culiacan, Mexico, his nickname is “Culichi,” not “Tortuga.”
But reach high atop that dusty bookshelf and grab “The Tortoise and the Hare” from Aesop’s Fables. Cast Cincinnati Reds triple-digit wonder Hunter Greene as the speedy hare. Urías and his slow-pokey pitches topping out at 93 mph are you-know-who.
We know who won that race.
This one followed a similar script. The Dodgers allowed only two hits while getting to Greene in the sixth inning to cruise to a 5-2 win Saturday night in front of 50,039 at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers hold on for 5-2 victory over Reds
Tayler Naquin and Tommy Pham each drove in runs in the ninth before Daniel Hudson got the final two outs to preserve a 5-2 Dodgers win.
Mitch White allowed a leadoff walk to Jake Fraley before Kyle Farmer followed with a single. A wild pitch advanced the runners in scoring position, and Fraley scored on Naquin’s groundout to second. Pham then ended White’s night with a liner to center field to plate Farmer.
Hudson struck out Joey Votto and got Tyler Stephenson to ground out to second base to end the game.
The Dodgers have won five consecutive games and take the series with the victory. The two teams will close out the series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PDT.
⚾ Final score: Dodgers 5, Reds 2
Dodgers take a 5-0 lead into the ninth inning
Top of the eighth: Mitch White became the fourth Dodgers pitcher of the game, but he more or less produced the same result as the others by keeping the Reds off the scoreboard. After allowing a leadoff single to Tyler Stephenson, White struck out Aristides Aquino, Mike Moustakas and Brandon Drury to pass the Jumbo Jack line (Dodgers have 11 punchouts on the night).
Bottom of the eighth: After Max Muncy drew a walk off Reds reliever Dauri Moreta, Edwin Ríos grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Chris Taylor flied out to center field.
⚾ End of the eighth: Dodgers 5, Reds 0
Freddie Freeman drives in his first run as a Dodger to extend lead
Freddie Freeman drove in his first run as a Dodger on a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Gavin Lux to give the Dodgers a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning.
Lux opened the inning by drawing a walk from Reds reliever Daniel Duarte. He then advanced to third on a Trea Turner single to center before scoring on Freeman’s popup.
Top of the seventh: David Price took over for Evan Phillips on the mound for the Dodgers and retired the Reds in order, striking out Tommy Pham and Joey Votto to keep the shutout going.
⚾ End of the seventh: Dodgers 5, Reds 0
Trea Turner and Chris Taylor power Dodgers to 4-0 lead in sixth
Trea Turner hit a two-run home run and Chris Taylor drove in two more runs on a single to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning.
Turner’s first home run of the season drove in Austin Barnes, who led off the inning with a single. Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene, who set a major league record tonight for most pitches over 100 mph in a single game at 38, retired nine of the last 10 batters he had faced before Barnes’ hit.
After Freddie Freeman reached first on a pass ball after a strikeout and Justin Turner popped out to first, Greene was pulled from the game, receiving a standing ovation from his family in attendance. Reds reliever Buck Farmer quickly ran into trouble, loading the bases with two outs before Taylor’s sharp liner to right scored Freeman and Edwin Ríos.
Ríos reached base on a single to right before Taylor’s at-bat.
In his second major league start, Greene allowed five hits, two runs, struck out six and walked none over 5 1/3 innings.
Top of the sixth: Dodgers reliever Evan Phillips picks up where Julio Urías left off, retiring the Reds in order.
⚾ End of the sixth: Dodgers 4, Reds 0
Julio Urías gives up a hit, but proves he’s 2021 vintage
Top of the fifth: Julio Urías gave up his first hit of the game on a wild bouncer off the bat of Tyler Stephenson that was too jumpy for second baseman Max Muncy to corral.
It might have been the fly in the nacho cheese for Dodgers fans yearning to see a no-hitter on a cool night at Chavez Ravine, but Urías made sure Stephenson went nowhere by getting Aristides Aquino to pop out before striking out Mike Moustakas.
Urías’ night is over after a solid five innings that dissolves concerns over whether his April 10 performance against the Rockies would carry over. He allowed one hit, struck out out five and walked one over 65 pitches. Evan Phillips will take over in relief.
Bottom of the fifth: Cody Bellinger picked up his second hit of the game on a two-out single down the right field line. However, Reds starter Hunter Greene struck out Gavin Lux on three pitches to pull the plug on any potential plate surge.
⚾ End of the fifth: Reds 0, Dodgers 0
Julio Urías hasn’t allowed a hit through four innings
Top of the fourth: It’s another 1-2-3 inning for Dodgers starter Julio Urías, who hasn’t allowed a hit through four innings. Cincinnati’s Kyle Farmer, Tyler Naquin and Tommy Pham all hit into groundouts.
Urías stands at 46 pitches with four strikeouts and one walk as he continues to underline why he won a league-leading 20 games last season.
Bottom of the fourth: Freddie Freeman, Justin Turner and Max Muncy each grounded out. Hunter Greene, the Southern California native who was a star at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, has allowed two hits and struck out four on 50 pitches.
⚾ End of the fourth: Reds 0, Dodgers 0
Julio Urías continues to throw well, as does Austin Barnes
Top of the third: Brandon Drury became the first Cincinnati baserunner of the game after he drew a one-out walk, but the inning ended a short time later when Dodgers Austin Barnes caught him trying to steal second right after Jake Fraley struck out.
Julio Urías has struck out four, walked one and hasn’t allowed a hit over his first 36 pitches — a definitive improvement of his mile-high season debut.
Bottom of the third: Cody Bellinger opened the frame with a single to center field, but he was left stranded when Hunter Greene retired the next three, striking out Trea Turner on an 87-mph slider to cap the inning.
⚾ End of the third: Reds 0, Dodgers 0
Scoreless game heading into the third inning
Top of the second: Julio Urías delivers another 1-2-3 inning, striking out Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino in the process. Urías has looked sharp over his 25 pitches, with his changeup and four-seamer causing problems for Reds batters.
Bottom of the second: Reds starter Hunter Greene is using the velocity of his 101-mph fastball to frustrate the Dodgers. He struck out Edwin Ríos and Chris Taylor with 101-mph pitches en route to retiring the Dodgers in order.
⚾ End of the second: Reds 0, Dodgers 0
Why does Dave Roberts wear No. 30? Look at tonight’s bobblehead
What’s in a number? For Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, wearing No. 30 is “an homage” to a player he greatly admired and emulated.
Maury Wills wore No. 30 during all those years with the Dodgers in the 1960s and early ‘70s when he ruled the basepaths, batted leadoff on World Series championship teams and won Gold Gloves at shortstop.
Although Roberts was an outfielder, he had a similar skill set as Wills, a game built on speed and aggressiveness. When the Dodgers acquired Roberts ahead of the 2002 season, Roberts’ agent, John Boggs, arranged a meeting with Wills.
“Maury Wills was an inspiration to me and I wanted to wear No. 30 as an homage to him,” Roberts said.
Wills was a spring training instructor specializing in base stealing and bunting — his miniature field where he taught bunting at Vero Beach, Fla., was called “Maury’s Pit — and Roberts was a star pupil.
Roberts had 118 stolen bases in 2½ seasons with the Dodgers and 243 in his 10-year career. Wills, credited with making the stolen base a widely used weapon, had 583 steals, including 104 in 1962.
Maury Wills shares what would have been his thank you speech if he was at the special night honoring him at Dodger Stadium.
Julio Urías and Hunter Greene off to solid starts after scoreless first
Top of the first inning: So far, so good for Julio Urías. The Dodgers pitcher, who struggled in his first start last week, retired the Reds in order, striking out Tyler Naquin in the process.
Urías will be one to watch in this game after his shaky outing against Colorado on April 10. With abbreviated spring training throwing some buildup curveballs for starters across the majors, how Urías performs tonight might provide a better barometer as to where last year’s 20-game winner stands.
Bottom of the first inning: Hunter Greene, who grew up in Southern California and was a star at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, looks sharp so far in his second career start for the Reds. With his family looking on, the former No. 2 overall draft pick struck out Freddie Freeman and got Justin Turner to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
⚾ End of the first: Reds 0, Dodgers 0
From an afterthought to indispensable
Kyle Farmer was a throw-in, the last piece in a huge salary dump of a trade after the 2017 season that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Woods and Farmer from the Dodgers to the Reds for Homer Bailey, Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.
Farmer had broken into the big leagues with the Dodgers as a backup catcher and light-hitting utility infielder, and that’s about all the Reds expected from him. But last season he stepped into a starting role at shortstop and flourished, batting .263 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs in 147 games. He made only five errors and advanced fielding metrics had him above average.
The job again was his in spring training, much to his relief.
“I strictly focused on shortstop, which was cool,” Farmer told reporters. “Being able to not have to put on the catcher’s gear was really nice, and not having to do blocking drills and worry about that. It’s hard to concentrate on catching and infield, because it’s two polar-opposite positions.”
Farmer, whose salary jumped from $640,000 to $3.155 million in his first year of arbitration, was batting .308 entering Saturday’s game.
Revisiting the Dodgers’ tepid pursuit of perfection
In addition to lifting Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made another decision that spoke to how little a perfect game meant to him.
The Dodgers led 3-0 in the seventh and Roberts had Blake Treinen warming up. Had the score remained a save situation, he likely would have gone with Treinen in the eighth and Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, maximizing the probability that the Dodgers could have come away with a combined perfect game.
Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux and Austin Barnes hit consecutive home runs in the top of the eighth, however, and with a comfortable 6-0 lead Roberts instead went with middle reliever Alex Vesia in the bottom of the inning. Vesia retired the first batter, but Gary Sanchez singled, ending the shot at the 24th perfect game in history.
Roberts opted to keep Treinen and Kimbrel rested with the Dodgers’ home opener looming the next day. Treinen felt his manager made all the right decisions.
“Once we doubled the score, the decision wasn’t difficult,” he said. “Get other guys work. We are thinking about winning ball games, many ball games.”
Freddie Freeman crafted his swing with help from father of another Dodgers star
During his childhood in Orange County, when the future National League MVP was just a budding young player with a raw left-handed swing, there were only two people who ever gave Freddie Freeman hitting lessons.
One was his dad, Fred.
The other was the father of then-Dodgers star Shawn Green.
While Shawn was slugging home runs at Chavez Ravine in the early 2000s, his dad, Ira, was helping cultivate the Dodgers’ future first baseman a short drive away, mentoring Freeman with weekly hitting lessons through his Little League and middle school years at an instructional training academy in Santa Ana.
After former Angels shortstop José Iglesias recorded his first hit since the death of his father, Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman embraced him.
It’s where Freeman matured as a young hitter, the place he unleashed his opposite-field power and crafted his consistent stroke at the plate.
As he looked back two decades later, ahead of his first home game with the Dodgers this week, Freeman couldn’t overstate the impact Ira — and Shawn — made on his early career.
Slumping Mookie Betts takes a night off, so Trea Turner will bat leadoff
Mookie Betts will take a scheduled day off Saturday after starting the season slowly at the plate. The Dodgers right fielder is seven for 31 (.226) with one walk and seven strikeouts. He hasn’t hit a home run.
Trea Turner will move up from No. 3 in the batting order to lead off against Cincinnati Reds rookie right-hander Hunter Greene. Third baseman Justin Turner will bat third after Freddie Freeman and ahead of Max Muncy, who will play second base.
Edwin Ríos gets the start at designated hitter, batting behind Muncy. Chris Taylor will play right field and bat sixth, center fielder Cody Bellinger will bat seventh, left fielder Gavin Lux is eighth and catcher Austin Barnes is ninth.
And here’s the Reds’ starting lineup:
Chet Brewer’s best delivery was helping Black players reach the major leagues
It was only one at-bat, but it changed the direction of Reggie Smith’s career.
Long before he was a World Series champion, a seven-time All-Star or 17-year major league outfielder, Smith was a young player growing up in South Los Angeles, trying to become a switch-hitter during his high school years.
One day early in the process, he came to the plate with men on base. Even though a right-handed pitcher stood atop the mound, Smith initially stayed on his familiar right-handed side of the plate, the place he felt most comfortable for a leverage at-bat.
But then, Smith’s coach called for time. As he did for so many players, over so many years, Chet Brewer needed a moment to impart some wisdom.
In an era of change for baseball, just a couple of decades after Jackie Robinson broke the sport’s color barrier, Smith was one of many young Black players who came out of South Los Angeles in the 1960s and broke into the big leagues.
Most of them were coached by Brewer, a former Negro Leagues star who became an influential — if often overlooked — part of baseball’s history. He helped dozens of players (most of them Black) reach the majors, cultivating a generation of baseball excellence that resonates to this day.
Things are looking up for Reds rookie Hunter Greene, just as he envisioned
ATLANTA — Hunter Greene was told not to look up, but he looked up anyway. Up at the third deck. Up toward the nearly sold-out crowd. Up to see what he envisioned since he was just another kid.
Greene hasn’t been just another kid most of his life. The spotlight has trailed him nearly half of his time on Earth. Every pitch studied, every game dissected, every move logged since his fastball first touched 100 mph at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks. Landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, even in 2017, only electrified the hype machine in a sport craving excitement.
And at each stop, at each turn, Greene has oozed a cool confidence. Seemingly never fazed and always ready. So, yes, the 22-year-old pitcher looked up from the mound at Truist Park at 1:50 p.m. Sunday before making his major league debut for the Cincinnati Reds against the Atlanta Braves. He loved the view.
“I looked up right when I got out there,” Greene said. “I wanted to take it all in and enjoy it. I felt really comfortable out there.”
Greene looked it, too, not giving up a hit over the first three innings. Over the next two, he looked like the second-youngest pitcher in Major League Baseball facing the defending World Series champions in his first start, but he didn’t relent. The 6-foot-5 right-hander pushed through five innings, yielding three runs with seven strikeouts to two walks. He threw 92 pitches, 56 for strikes. His fastball reached triple digits 20 times, but he didn’t overthrow.
Dodgers spend Jackie Robinson Day honoring baseball legend’s courage and legacy
All 30 Major League Baseball clubs celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day on Friday.
But no team did it quite like the Dodgers.
In the morning, David Price and Mookie Betts were out in the community; Price at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena, reading the book “I Am Jackie Robinson” to students; Betts at Robinson’s nearby alma mater, John Muir High School, helping unveil a mural of Robinson in the campus’ courtyard.
“Walking around and seeing where he played baseball and where he walked to class, it’s just neat,” Betts said. “[The whole day] is kind of like a holiday here. It’s a holiday everywhere, but it’s a little more here.”
In the afternoon, the team donned its No. 42 jerseys and walked to the center-field plaza at Dodger Stadium, gathering around a statue of Robinson during an address from his son, David.
“To have David here today, knowing that there’s going to be 42 jerseys all over the ballpark and everyone in baseball is going to be wearing blue jerseys with the No. 42, it’s special,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “What he did was incredible, but we’ve got to do him right by keep going.”
How to watch and stream the Dodgers in 2022
Here’s a look at the Dodgers’ TV and streaming schedule for the 155 games left to go in the regular season: