The two biggest storylines from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ wild 10-9, 10-inning win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night were Gavin Lux’s two-homer, three-hit night, and starting pitcher Walker Buehler’s early exit from the game.
The Dodgers (31-12) got back on the winning track after two straight losses, and face the struggling Diamondbacks Wednesday night in the second game of their three-game series.
Lux entered the night with a .148 batting average and no home runs or runs batted in. He ended Tuesday with two home runs, five RBIs and a batting average that spiked 71 points.
A top prospect for the Dodgers who is projected to be part of the team’s future, Lux didn’t even make the big league roster out of summer camp and opened the season at the team’s alternate training site. Now up with the Dodgers since Aug. 27, Lux had the breakthrough game he sought.
“I just didn’t have the at-bats that I wanted to, and I just didn’t feel comfortable in the box at that time,” Lux said of being sent to the alternate training site. “So going to USC and getting at-bats on an everyday basis kind of helped me feel what I needed to and iron some things out. That’s what I needed.”
As for Buehler, he made his second start since a stint on the injured list with a blister, and the sore appeared to be an issue again Tuesday in his 2 2/3 innings of work.
But Buehler downplayed it, saying he has to learn how to deal with the blister and that he felt fine physically, and that the ball was coming out of his hand well.
“To me, I just didn’t make pitches,” he said. “Just find a way to make sure it doesn’t get any worse.”
Ace Clayton Kershaw gets the start Wednesday. He’s off to a 5-1 start with a 1.50 ERA, and threw six scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 3 for his fifth win.
Kershaw is 18-10 with a 2.69 career ERA in 35 starts against Arizona. He has 242 of his 2,505 career strikeouts against the National League West rivals.
Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson is away from the team on paternity leave, so Los Angeles isn’t expected to have him and his team-best 16 career home runs against Arizona this week.
The Diamondbacks (15-28) were left to lament another difficult loss, their fourth straight and 17th in 19 games. Manager Torey Lovullo focused on the positives, one of which was shortstop Josh Rojas’ dazzling defensive play that kept the game tied at 6 and ended the seventh inning on Tuesday.
Rojas flagged down a sharp grounder up the middle, dragged a foot over second base for a force out and threw to first base for a double play.
“This team is trying to make things happen and win baseball games,” Lovullo said. “But there are certain identifiable things that we have to do better. Simplifying the game, continuing to play the fundamental part of the game, things that we do very well, instead of having a forced mentality. It’s about putting the ball in play and making quality pitches and expecting quality outcomes.”
The Diamondbacks send Taylor Clarke (1-0, 2.96 ERA) to the mound Wednesday for his fourth start of the season.
Opponents are batting .243 against Clarke, who opened the season in the bullpen with six relief appearances. In six career appearances (three starts) against the Dodgers, he is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA.
–Field Level Media