The Dodgers opened their final homestand of the regular season on Tuesday night with a 7-5 win over the Rays.
groundbreaking analysis from the youtube game pic.twitter.com/G4nIOqeT4m— MLB Insider Chomper (@ec773) September 18, 2019
Dave Roberts switched up the pitching, opening with Caleb Ferguson instead of starting Ross Stripling. Both Dodger pitchers look to contribute out of the bullpen this postseason. Alanna Rizzo reported earlier today that Stripling is confirmed to be on the postseason roster.
Meanwhile, Chad wrote about Ferguson’s new grip on his curveball, which may lead him to a spot in the pen for the Dodgers this October.
As for the game, the Rays struck first, plating a run in the second inning against Ferguson. Joey Wendle walked and stole second with one out. A balk by Ferguson moved him to third, and Tampa Bay cashed in the run on a Willy Adames sac fly. That was all for Ferguson, who gave way for Julio Urias. Urias only needed three pitches, touching 94 mph with his fastball, to retire Kevin Kiermaier on strikes to end the second frame.
Blake Snell made his long-awaited return to the mound for the Rays since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in late July to remove loose bodies. Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner pitched two perfect innings in his return, striking out four on 26 pitches.
Stripling, the fourth pitcher of the night for the Dodgers, entered the game in the top of the fourth. With one-out Matt Duffy and Wendle hit back-to-back singles, the first base hits of the game. The Dodgers then nearly turned a 6-4-3 double play, but the Rays challenged the call at first. Adames looked safe on the replay, and the call was overturned. Stripling struck out Kiermaier to wiggle out of the jam and strand the two runners.
Oliver Drake took over for Snell and pitched another two perfect innings. The Dodgers didn’t get a man on base until the fifth when Cody Bellinger drew a leadoff walk against Colin Poche. With Max Muncy at the plate, Bellinger swiped second base. Muncy was then hit with a pitch, bringing up Enrique Hernandez with two on and nobody out. Hernandez hit a grounder along the first baseline, advancing the runners to second and third. The Dodgers then finally got their first hit, a Corey Seager ground-rule double that bounced into the Dodgers’ bullpen. Two runs came in, and the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead.
The last Dodger to reach the 40-double mark before Corey Seager was Corey Seager in 2016.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 18, 2019
Seager came up with another two RBIs in the seventh. Muncy reached safely on an error by pitcher Peter Fairbanks, and Hernandez doubled to give the Dodgers runners at the corners with nobody out. Seager came up with his 41st double of the season to give L.A. a two-run lead.
Double trouble. pic.twitter.com/JapliGTdqF— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 18, 2019
Roberts brought in Kenley Jansen with two outs, the eighth pitcher of the night for the Dodgers.
Wendle reached on an error by Bellinger, but Jansen struck out Adames to stop the bleeding. In the ninth, Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 inning to capture the four-out save and his 30th save on the season.
With the win, the Dodgers improve their record to 98-54 and 57-20 at home with 10 games remaining in the regular season. The Dodgers’ magic number over the Braves is 5 to clinch home-field advantage in the NLCS, and they’re 1 game behind the Astros and Yankees in the MLB.
The Dodgers and Rays conclude the brief two-game series on Wednesday. Tony Gonsolin (3-2, 2.83 ERA, 3.73 FIP) takes on left-hander Brendan McKay (2-4, 5.27 ERA, 4.30 FIP). First pitch is at 5:10 PM PST.