Dodgers showcase bullpen depth and beat Padres for fourth consecutive win

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Bobby Miller throws against a San Diego Padres batter.
Dodgers starting pitcher Bobby Miller delivers against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of the Dodgers’ 10-5 win Friday at Petco Park. The rookie right-hander gave up an earned run on six hits and struck out three over 3 2/3 innings.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
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The Dodgers didn’t exactly upgrade their talent level before this week’s trade deadline.

But they did bolster their roster’s depth.

“One through 26,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday afternoon, “this is the deepest we’ve been.”

In a 10-5 defeat of the San Diego Padres on Friday night, the Dodgers showed exactly what he meant.


Daniel Hudson spent a full year rehabbing a torn ligament in his left knee, only to sprain a ligament in his right knee just three appearances into his return.

Aug. 4, 2023

The power of the Dodgers’ new platoon-heavy, option-rich game plan was on display in the eighth, when they churned out five runs to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 7-3 lead.

Their replenished pitching staff compensated for an abbreviated start from Bobby Miller, with five relievers covering 5⅓ innings to lead the team to its fourth straight win.

Major questions about the Dodgers still remain, from the top of their starting rotation, to the consistency of their top-heavy offense, to exactly how their roster might hold up in the fine margins of a postseason environment.

On Friday, at least, they provided an auspicious blueprint for how it can all come together — relying on the quantity of their options just as much as the quality of their top ones.

“It’s grown a considerable amount,” Roberts said of his team’s post-deadline roster versatility. “From the rest part of it to the matchup part of it, it’s just very beneficial.”

The Dodgers needed all of it in their series opener at Petco Park.

Without Max Muncy (who missed the game with a bruised wrist) or J.D. Martinez (who only pinch-hit while nursing a groin issue) as their typical cleanup hitter, outfielder David Peralta was thrust into the No. 4 spot.

David Peralta hits a ground-rule double for the Dodgers in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres on Friday.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

The outcome: Peralta hit a ground-rule double in the seventh, leading to one of only two runs the Dodgers (63-45) managed against Padres starter Yu Darvish. Peralta provided the big blow in the five-run eighth, lining a game-tying double down the left-field line against hard-throwing setup man Robert Suarez. Then he tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth, finishing the night two for four with two RBIs.

“That’s what we’ve been doing all year,” Peralta said. “Putting together at-bats, a team approach.”

Another left-handed platoon bat, James Outman, also came up big.

After robbing Fernando Tatis Jr. of a two-run homer in the first, the rookie center fielder hit a solo blast in the second to open the scoring, then drove Peralta in with a cue-shot single in the seventh, trimming a two-run lead for the Padres (54-56) in half.

“I just feel like I got my rhythm back,” Outman said. “I’m putting together competitive at-bats.”

Fan favorite Joe Kelly is back in Los Angeles, hoping to turn around his season and provide the Dodgers with help in the bullpen.

Aug. 3, 2023

The Dodgers’ two new bats contributed, as well.

Kiké Hernández led off the eighth with a single. Then, after Chris Taylor and Martinez drew bases-loaded walks to put the Dodgers ahead, Amed Rosario lined a two-run single into right field, opening a four-run lead the club wouldn’t relinquish.


“It’s a byproduct of experience,” Roberts said. “You can kind of not panic. You can see that in the later innings, when those guys have to throw the baseball over the plate. If they don’t, we’ll take our 90 feet.”

The Dodgers’ bullpen offered more encouraging signs.

Despite getting just 3⅔ innings out of Miller — who gave up only two runs (one earned) but yielded seven baserunners in a high-stress 82-pitch outing — the relief corps gave up just three runs the rest of the way.

Joe Kelly, a deadline acquisition, struck out Tatis and started a 1-4-3 double play to get through the fifth. Ryan Brasier, a midseason minor league signing who has flourished in recent weeks, was credited with the win after a scoreless seventh inning.

Even the defense benefited from the new collection of faces.

With MLB’s trade deadline over, the Dodgers and Angels know what their rosters will be for the final two months of the regular season and — they both hope — the postseason.

Aug. 3, 2023

Following the lineup changes in the eighth, the Dodgers were able to adjust in the field accordingly. Miguel Rojas, the team’s best infielder, was inserted at shortstop. Rosario, who started at shortstop, was shifted to second and made a diving play to quell a late Padres rally.

“Really, you’re not compromising defense,” Roberts said of his midgame lineup changes. “Those are things that are really good.”

It’s exactly what the Dodgers will need to master over the rest of the season, too.

Taking advantage of handiness matchups against opposing starting pitchers. Utilizing their bench options late in games against bullpens. Reconfiguring their defense while protecting leads. And piecing together a pitching staff that didn’t get a top starter at the deadline but was reinforced with a couple veteran additions.


“We have a great group of guys, and the new pieces and everything, it makes this team better,” Peralta said. “That’s what it’s all about. That was a team win [tonight]. Celebrate today, and then we’re gonna be ready for tomorrow to do the same thing.”