A night after the Dodgers less shockingly won a pitchers’ duel with Clayton Kershaw on the mound, they completely shockingly won one with the bullpen against Shohei Ohtani. David Peralta saved a run, and homers from Freddie Freeman and Miguel Vargas powered the offense in a 2-0 victory. Dos a Cero? Dos a Cero.
2023 Dodgers bullpen game shutout. pic.twitter.com/gNkwiDRS2D— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
I’m making “mini-sweep” happen!
If a bullpen game, particularly one run by the Dodgers this year, against Shohei didn’t seem like an ideal matchup, it’s because it absolutely wasn’t. And yet, it was the Dodgers that kept the Angels off the board.
Brusdar Graterol served as the opener, and went two scoreless innings, allowing just a walk and striking out three batters. Victor Gonzalez followed in the 3rd and faced significantly more trouble, immediately surrendering a Luis Rengifo double that was advanced to third on a groundout. However, he escaped damage thanks to a Mickey Moniak fly out that resulted in a double play when Peralta threw out a tagging Rengifo at home.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Ohtani was cruising early. He gave up just an infield single in the first three innings and struck out six. However, perhaps building momentum off the Peralta throw, Freeman immediately led the 4th off with his 14th dong of the year to make it 1-0.
Freddie Freeman gives the Dodgers a lead all of a sudden. pic.twitter.com/BBk6N23s9v— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
But Ohtani continued to roll after that, working around a double and walk later in the 4th, a single in the 5th, and a walk and single in the 6th, before finally getting a clean frame again in the 7th to end his night with just the one run scored and a whopping 12 strikeouts.
Yet, that one run stood up.
Back to the work of the pen, Victor came back out for the 4th and got an out. He was relieved by Yency Almonte, who gave up a walk but closed the inning without further incident. Almonte also started the 5th and registered two outs, but then surrendered a single and saw his night end.
Alex Vesia relieved him and fanned the embers with a walk. However, he bounced back from Michael Busch whiffing on a routine foul pop to get out of the frame with a 0 on the board. Vesia started the 6th as well, getting two outs and ending his night by whiffing Mike Trout.
Ryan Brasier was summoned to make his Dodger debut, and he did so by notching a strikeout. He continued in the 7th, and absolutely cruised with two infield pops and a groundout on just four pitches.
Ryan Brasier, you are the next great pen hope (until the next batter that gets on). pic.twitter.com/E6qI8ALQP4— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
Thus, the Dodgers pen got through the hard part, and then followed with their leverage guys, going to Caleb Ferguson to start the 8th. He got a pop out and then issued a walk, but a Mookie Betts and Vargas double play followed and ended the inning.
Mookie and Vargas turn a smooth 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. pic.twitter.com/X8eQeh2C48— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
While the Dodgers got just a walk in the 8th against the Angels pen, Vargas hopefully broke out of his major slump with his seventh dinger of the year for insurance to make it 2-0.
Insurance. I cri. pic.twitter.com/XmaLx1poAN— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
Evan Phillips then entered to try and close it against the heart of the Angels order. He got Ohtani to fly out, followed by getting a strikeout of Trout, and capped his 1-2-3 outing off with a fly out to right.
Evan Phillips gets Mike Trout swinging. pic.twitter.com/s6S2ASzZby— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 22, 2023
Graterol— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 22, 2023
What a performance from the bullpen. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OCBl7tlMAH
|Giants||42-32 (2.5 GB)|
|Dodgers||41-33 (3.5 GB)|
*Either still playing or will play later.
The Dodgers will have a day off tomorrow as they’ll drive down the freeway and back home for a three-game series against the hated Astros. It’ll be Emmet Sheehan (6 IP, 0 ER) making the second start of his career against 28-year-old rookie J.P. France (3.42 ERA/4.12 xERA/4.74 DRA) at 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET.