Final: Dodgers beat Nationals behind Mookie Betts’ two home runs
WASHINGTON — The Dodgers got a big game from Mookie Betts, a good start from Walker Buehler, and plenty of help from their rest of their roster to cruise to a 9-4 win against the Nationals on Tuesday.
Betts hit two home runs, collected four RBIs and reached base four times. He is now the National League home run leader with 12.
Buehler gave up three runs (two earned) in a six-inning start, finishing his game by retiring 15 of the last 17 he faced.
The Dodgers also got contributions from Trea Turner (two-run homer), Chris Taylor (two-run homer) and Edwin Ríos, who went two for five.
The team is now 29-13, has won eight of its last nine games, and clinched its third-straight series win.
Final: Dodgers 9, Nationals 4
Walker Buehler completes sharp six inning start
After some shaky moments the first two innings, Walker Buehler settled down to complete a sharp six-inning outing in which he gave up three runs (two earned).
The Nationals tagged Buehler with all three of their runs in the first, then put two aboard to lead off the second inning. After that, however, Buehler escaped the second without allowing any more damage and finished his night retiring 15 of the final 17 batters he faced.
He reverted back to more of a fastball-reliant approach, throwing the four-seamer — a point of emphasis for the right-hander during his bullpen work this week —more than any other pitch.
He didn’t get any whiffs with the fastball, and still allowed five hits of his six hits with the pitch. But he avoided the big mistake, finishing the game with a 2.91 ERA on the season.
The Dodgers offense also tacked on an insurance run in the top half of the sixth on a bases-loaded walk from Max Muncy.
End 6th: Dodgers lead 9-3
Mookie Betts homers again, taking NL lead, as Dodgers extend edge
After giving up his third home run of the night in the third inning, a two-run shot by Chris Taylor, Nationals starter Josiah Gray left the game to begin the fourth.
It didn’t stop Mookie Betts from adding to his big night.
The first batter to face Nationals reliever Victor Arano, Betts homered for the second time tonight, sending a solo shot to left field for his 12th long ball of the season — giving him the National League lead.
He also became the second Dodgers hitter this season to reach 30 RBIs.
Walker Buehler, meanwhile, has settled down since the first inning. He stranded two runners in the second, and has retired nine in a row overall.
End 4th: Dodgers lead 8-3
Dodgers retake lead on Mookie Betts’ three-run homer
Mookie Betts is still sizzling at the plate.
In the second inning, Betts hit a three-run homer to left to put the Dodgers back in front.
It was Betts’ 11th home run of the year, which is tied for the National League lead. It gave him 29 RBIs, tying Justin Turner for second most on the team. And it marked the 12th straight game in which Betts has scored a run, matching Rafael Furcal’s 2010 for the longest in the club’s Los Angeles history (Zack Wheat holds the overall record at 13, set in 1925).
In his last 12 games including tonight, Betts is batting .383 with seven doubles, six home runs, 16 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
Mid 2nd: Dodgers lead 5-3
Dodgers take early lead on Trea Turner’s home run, but give it up a half-inning later
The Dodgers once again started quick at the plate, going ahead 2-0 in the first inning on Trea Turner’s two-run homer.
They stressed Nationals starter Josiah Gray later in the inning, too, making him throw 40 pitches despite not scoring another run.
The lead, however, didn’t last long. In the bottom of the first, the Nationals scored three times on four hits against Walker Buehler. The Dodgers also committed a run-scoring error, when Chris Taylor’s one-hopped throw from center field to third got past Justin Turner.
End 1st: Nationals lead 3-2
Tuesday’s pitching matchup: Staff ace vs. a familiar face
Tuesday will be one of the more intriguing pitching matchups the Dodgers have had this season, with staff ace Walker Buehler squaring off against the team’s former top prospect Josiah Gray.
It will be Gray’s first time facing the Dodgers since the team traded him to the Nationals as part of the Trea Turner/Max Scherzer deal last year.
The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-3 this year with a 4.36 ERA.
“We have a lot of familiarity with Jojo Gray,” Roberts said pregame. “He has a big arm and he’s going to bring his best tonight to face his old ball club.”
For Buehler, Tuesday will be a test to see if adjustments he made during his last bullpen session can translate to game action.
Buehler has a 5-1 record and 2.89 ERA this year, but hasn’t been as dominant as usual — in large part because of struggles with his fastball.
In his first eight starts this year, opponent have a .365 batting average and .596 slugging percentage against his heater.
Roberts, however, said Buehler made a few mechanical tweaks in his last bullpen session he hopes will lead to better consistency and command with the pitch.
“I think that it was mechanical, putting his arm in the right position at release, and there’s a lot of the lower half component,” Roberts said. “Him and Mark [Prior, the Dodgers pitching coach] are working really hard to clean some things up. I thought it was a really good ‘pen and I’m encouraged about tonight.”
Cody Bellinger is ‘not feeling well,’ will be out of the lineup against ex-Dodger Josiah Gray
WASHINGTON — Cody Bellinger was out of the Dodgers lineup Tuesday because he “woke up not feeling well,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Roberts said he wasn’t concerned about Bellinger’s health, noting that the center fielder said he felt he could have played if needed.
“If he doesn’t feel well, I want to give him a day to recover,” Roberts said.
Asked if Bellinger had taken a COVID-19 test, Roberts said, “I don’t think we’re there yet.” He added that Bellinger hadn’t reached a point where the league’s health and safety protocols required a test, either.
“I think right now, we’re just all very sensitive to, if somebody has any type of sniffle or doesn’t feel well physically, I think we’re just trying to let him rest,” Roberts said.
Mookie Betts was originally scheduled to have Tuesday off. But with Bellinger out — which is forcing Chris Taylor to play center field on Tuesday and Gavin Lux to be left — Betts will instead get Wednesday’s game off.
Here is the Dodgers’ full lineup for Tuesday:
‘Poetry in motion’: How Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner made sliding cool
Last August, Trea Turner, less than a month into his Dodgers career, scored from second base against the Philadelphia Phillies and slid into internet lore.
His work of art went unnoticed initially. The Dodgers’ broadcasters, rightfully so, marveled at the fact that most Major League Baseball players wouldn’t have scored from second base on that play. Will Smith clubbed a single to right field. Bryce Harper, the eventual National League MVP, wasn’t playing deep and fired an accurate throw home. But Turner scored anyway. It was an important scamper, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in a 5-0 win.
Within minutes, though, the sprint was a footnote to the dash’s swaggy ending.
Turner’s slide home was buttery smooth. Oil-slick smooth. Stupid smooth. He went with his right foot leading the way over the left side of home plate. He bent his left leg underneath and stuck out his gloved left hand. He swiped the white slab of rubber, glided a few more feet, and popped up with a spin just ahead of Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto’s tag. It all happened so quickly, so effortlessly with a composed flair.
ICYMI: Tyler Anderson tosses eight shutout innings as Dodgers rout Nationals
WASHINGTON — For a while Monday night, the weather seemingly posed a bigger threat to Tyler Anderson than almost anyone the Washington Nationals sent to the plate.
Through five innings, the veteran left-hander was perfect, using his herky-jerky delivery and changeup-heavy arsenal to mow through a rebuilding Nationals lineup that, aside from slugger Juan Soto, failed to instill much fear.
Something that was concerning: Rain lurked in the forecast throughout the night, threatening to potentially halt the game amid Anderson’s pursuit of history.
“I was kind of hoping it would stay as it was,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Any delay would not have been helpful.”
In the end, the downpour never came. During the Dodgers’ 10-1 win at Nationals Park, however, hits from the home team finally did.
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: