Justin Turner shakes off rough month with two homers in Dodgers’ win
Few Dodgers batters swooned in June more dramatically than Justin Turner, who hit .209 with no homers and eight RBIs in his first 24 games of the month, but that didn’t shake manager Dave Roberts’ confidence in the veteran third baseman.
Roberts kept plugging Turner into the middle of the order because of his ability to produce in the clutch, citing Turner’s 38 RBIs, fourth-most on the team, and .286 average with runners in scoring position entering Thursday night.
That faith was rewarded in the opener of a four-game series against the National League West-rival San Diego Padres when Turner hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh inning, to lead the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 53,094 in Chavez Ravine.
Justin Turner gives Dodgers a 3-1 lead with his second homer of game
Justin Turner, who has three of the Dodgers’ four hits tonight, gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead with one out in the bottom of the seventh with a home run to center off of Joe Musgrove. Max Muncy reached ahead of him on a walk. Cody Bellinger lined to first. Jake Lamb then tripled to center, but was left stranded.
Evan Phillips is starting the eighth for the Dodgers.
Score after seven: Dodgers 3, Padres 1
Still 1-1 through five
Joe Musgrove has settled down for the Padres, striking out and giving up three hits (one the solo homer to Justin Turner through five innings. Mitch White was replaced with two out in the fifth after giving up six hits, a walk and a run while striking out three. Justin Bruihl is now pitching for the Dodgers as we head to the sixth inning.
Score after five: Dodgers 1, Padres 1
Justin Turner ties it with solo home run
The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second and looked poised to break the game open when Jurickson Profar flied to right. Chris Taylor settled under the ball and threw the runner out at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
With one out in the bottom half, Justin Turner, who seems to be breaking out of his season-long slump, homered to left-center to tie it up at 1.
Score after two: Dodgers 1, Padres 1
Padres take quick lead over the Dodgers
The Padres took the early lead in the top of the first thanks to some poor defense. With one out, Manny Machado hit a ball to left that Gavin Lux thought was hit harder than it was. Lux realized it, sprinted in, dived for the ball, but it ticked off his glove for a double. Jake Cronenworth flied to left and then Nomar Mazara singled to right-center to score Machado. Eric Hosmer grounded out to end the top of the first.
The Dodgers went in order against Joe Musgrove in the bottom of the first.
Score after one: Padres 1, Dodgers 0
Freddie Freeman free agency saga has legs for another day
The Freddie Freeman free agency saga extended to a third day Thursday when agent Casey Close, whom the Dodgers first baseman is contemplating a split from, accused the Atlanta Braves of creating a “false narrative” around Freeman’s departure from the club he helped to the World Series title last season.
“I will not stand by as the circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s departure from Atlanta are mischaracterized,” Close, who heads Excel Sports Management, said in a statement. “Since March, the Braves have fostered a narrative about the negotiations which, stated plainly, is false.
“Part of that false narrative is the suggestion that I did not communicate a contract offer to the Freemans. To be clear, we communicated every offer that was made, as well as every communication Excel had with the Braves organization throughout the entire process.”
Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb tweeted on Wednesday that Close never told Freeman about a supposed final contract offer the Braves made to keep the former National League most valuable player in Atlanta. Freeman signed a six-year, $162-million deal with the Dodgers.
Freeman declined to comment on the report Wednesday. The Dodgers canceled batting practice Thursday after their late arrival from Denver, and Freeman was not in the clubhouse during media availability.
Manager Dave Roberts said the Freeman story has not metastasized to a point where it has become a distraction for the slugger or the Dodgers.
“I think that athletes, teams, have a way of compartmentalizing,” Roberts said. “I think that’s something Freddie’s got to deal with, but certainly there’s more talk of it in our clubhouse.
“But you know, when the first pitch is thrown, we’re here to win a baseball game, so it has no effect. Believe me, that had nothing to do with us losing [two of three] baseball games [in Colorado].”
Mookie Betts is well ahead of schedule in return from right rib fracture
The timetable for the return of Mookie Betts from a right rib fracture was moved up by a week to 10 days after the Dodgers right fielder took batting practice on the field, played catch and took grounders at second base before Thursday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.
The team initially thought Betts, who suffered the injury in a collision with center fielder Cody Bellinger on June 15, would return before the All-Star break. But after talking with Betts following Thursday’s workout, manager Dave Roberts said the dynamic leadoff man is well ahead of schedule.
“I’m encouraged that early next week is certainly a viable possibility,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be [dictated by] his pain tolerance. Talking to the doctors and trainers, it’s one of those things where you have to kind of deal with the discomfort, but there’s nothing that should potentially make it worse.”
Roberts said Betts, who is batting .273 with an .884 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 17 homers and 40 RBIs in 60 games, won’t need a rehabilitation stint in the minors, and that when he returns, it will be in the leadoff spot, pushing Trea Turner to the third spot.
Throwing causes more discomfort than swinging a bat, so Betts could return as a second baseman, a position he has made 20 career starts at, six with the Dodgers.
“He’s on record as saying he doesn’t really love the designated hitter,” Roberts said. “So if there’s a way that we can get him in the lineup, and it’s second base, we’ll move pieces around. The arm stroke, the short throw from second, the potential turning of the double play is different than really stretching it out.”
Starting lineup for Dodgers vs. Padres
Here’s the Dodgers’ starting lineup for Thursday against the San Diego Padres:
Mookie Betts, Trea Turner advance to second phase of All-Star Game voting
Right fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Trea Turner advanced to the second phase of All-Star Game voting by finishing among the top vote-getters at their positions in the first round of balloting, which concluded Thursday. The next phase of voting, which will be done exclusively online, will begin Tuesday and run through July 8.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. earned automatic starting spots for the July 19 game in Dodger Stadium by leading their respective leagues in voting during the first phase.
Betts, on the injured list because of a right-rib cage fracture, was the leading vote-getter among the four National League outfield finalists with roughly 3.5 million votes, far outpacing San Francisco’s Joc Pederson (1.8 million), the New York Mets’ Starling Marte (1.2 million) and Atlanta’s Adam Duvall (1.1 million).
Betts, who is batting .273 with an .884 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 17 homers and 40 RBIs in 60 games, took batting practice on the field and played catch before Thursday night’s game against the San Diego Padres, and the team believes he will return before the All-Star break.
Turner, who is batting .309 with an .849 OPS, 11 homers, 18 doubles and 56 RBIs, leads NL shortstops with about 2.2 million votes, slightly ahead of Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson (2 million).
Despite more off-field agent drama, Freddie Freeman stays hot in Dodgers’ win over Rockies
DENVER — Freddie Freeman wanted the story to just go away.
On Wednesday, however, the saga around his offseason free agency, departure from the Braves and apparent split from his agents continued to dominate baseball’s news cycle.
Though the Dodgers first baseman had a home run, two hits and a walk in the team’s 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, a new report about Freeman’s free agency process last offseason led to another chapter in a story that has followed him for almost a week.
Hours before the first pitch, Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb said that Casey Close, the agent at Excel Sports Management who led free-agency negotiations for Freeman that ended with him signing with the Dodgers, had never told Freeman about a supposed final contract offer the Braves made to keep the former MVP in Atlanta.
How to watch and stream the Dodgers this season
Here’s a look at the Dodgers’ broadcast and streaming schedule for the remainder of the 2022 regular season: