Dodgers overcome power outage and a Mookie Betts injury scare to beat Angels
The Dodgers and Angels had just completed the sixth inning Saturday night when, a little after 8:30 p.m., Dodger Stadium went pitch black. The entire ballpark lost power for a few seconds before some lights flickered on, creating an eerie, 2020-in-a-nutshell sight with cardboard cutouts dotting the stands.
A few Dodgers lounged by third base — Kiké Hernández reclined on top of it and unleashed a scream of frustration — as the teams waited on word of the game’s status during the power outage. Players could be heard debating whether the game should be suspended — “Bang it?” one asked the umpires — before music and piped-in crowd noise from the two center-field speakers surfaced to set the mood for the dim scene. Eventually, after a 25-minute delay, play resumed, and the Dodgers won 7-6.
“It was honestly spooky,” Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin said. “It was dark and it got dark real fast, too. A few seconds earlier and it could’ve been dangerous.”
The night began with functioning lights and a scare. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Dodgers entered Saturday with two MVP candidates atop their lineup: right fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Corey Seager. By the end of Saturday, they were down to one.
A power outage at Dodger Stadium delayed Saturday’s game between the Angels and Dodgers for about 25 minutes while power was being restored.
Betts exited the game after he was hit by a pitch on his left hip in the first inning. Betts initially stayed in the game and scored the Dodgers’ first run off Angels right-hander Julio Teheran, who thew 52 pitches in the three-run inning, but was still clearly in pain when he returned to the dugout.
Minutes later, he was replaced in right by Hernández to start the second inning.
The injury, however, doesn’t appear to be serious. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts left for precautionary reasons. He won’t require testing. He’s “day to day” and his status for Sunday’s regular season finale is unclear.
Betts, 27, is batting .292 with 16 home runs and a .928 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 55 games. His 3.3 bWAR led all major leaguers. He has been one of the best players on the best team in the majors this season, putting him in contention to win his second career MVP award.
Seager, meanwhile, has established a strong case for his first.
The Dodgers (42-17) weren’t exactly sure what they would get from Seager this season. It wasn’t a question of talent. It was a question of health. After establishing himself as one of the best hitters in baseball in his first two full seasons, Seager missed most of the 2018 season after Tommy John and hip surgeries. He returned in 2019 but wasn’t himself and had his hottest stretch of the season interrupted by a hamstring strain.
This year, Seager has hit the ball hard as anyone — he began Saturday with the highest barreled-ball rate in the majors — and put together one of the best offensive seasons ever by a shortstop not named Alex Rodriguez though in a significantly smaller sample size.
“Last year, especially, I just wasn’t physically as strong as I’d have liked to have been,” Seager said. “Your body kind of changes. You get tired, things start changing positions on you. Just being strong again and being healthy again has definitely helped that.”
The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts stayed in at first after being hit by a first-inning pitch Saturday but remained in pain and left the game against the Angels.
Before going 0 or 4 Saturday, Seager entered the day sixth in the National League in OPS (.978), tied for sixth in home runs (15), and 10th in batting average (.319). His 161 wRC+ — an all-encompassing offensive metric — suggested he was 61% better than the average player.
He ranked sixth in the category while playing one of the more demanding positions on the diamond.
“His body feels 100% better,” Dodgers co-hitting coach Brant Brown said. “That and having an entire offseason to train was huge. What he’s doing at the plate is very special and I think it shows the skill set that he actually has when he’s healthy.”
Seager’s prowess prompted the Dodgers to move him up to second in the batting order in mid-August.
They originally planned to move him back to fifth, but his continued success combined with sustained struggles from Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy have undoubtedly made him the best option to sandwich between Betts and Justin Turner.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ win over the Angels on Saturday.
Pederson’s spot uncertain
Joc Pederson has enjoyed ample postseason success in his career, but there’s a chance he won’t make the Dodgers’ playoff roster.
The outfielder hit a two-run home run Saturday, but has had his worst major league season while recently dealing with a personal family matter that has required him to take time away from the team.
Roberts, acknowledging Pederson’s off-field situation, said the club has attempted to get him on track by keeping him in the lineup but nothing beyond Sunday’s regular-season finale is guaranteed. Pederson is batting .185 with seven home runs and a .671 OPS in 42 games.
“I just want to give him every opportunity to try to get locked in,” Roberts said.
Takeaways for the Dodgers and Angels
- Tony Gonsolin gave up a season-high four runs and seven hits in six innings Saturday. The Angels scored all four runs, fueled by Jared Walsh’s two-run triple, in the third inning. Gonsolin had six strikeouts without a walk and threw 87 pitches. He is a candidate to start Game 3 of the wild-card round Friday if the Dodgers play one.
- The Dodgers extended their lead to 6-4 on Edwin Rios’ solo homer in the seventh inning, which received an assist from Angels rookie Jo Adell. The 22-year-old chased the ball to the warning track, jumped in an attempt to obstruct its path and ended up bumping it over the center-field fence. Adell has had multiple home runs pop out of his glove this season.
- The Milwaukee Brewers enter the final day of the regular season in the driver’s seat for the eighth and final NL playoff spot after their win over the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants’ loss to the San Diego Padres on Saturday. The Brewers would clinch the postseason berth — and a wild-card series against the Dodgers — with a win Sunday. A Brewers loss and a Giants win would give the Giants the spot.
Times staff writer Maria Torres contributed to this report.
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