The Dodgers have been able to put together a pair of offensive outbursts over the last three weeks, but neither of those helped L.A. secure a win the next day.
While everyone should hesitate to call a win in May a season-changer, maybe Tuesday’s comeback win against the Mariners was exactly what the Dodgers needed in order to start playing up to their immense potential. Oftentimes, a close and emotional win carries more weight than a rout.
That appeared to be the case for the Dodgers, as Los Angeles was able to build off the momentum with their most complete performance over the last few weeks, a 7-1 win over Seattle on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers won back-to-back games for the first time since April 16-17.
“This is the team that we are and we really haven’t shown it at all the last couple of weeks,” said Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy. “It’s been frustrating, it’s been a long couple of weeks. But hopefully, these two games can jump-start us a little bit.”
Urías shines again
The Mariners don’t play the Dodgers again this season, and they certainly won’t miss facing Julio Urías.
Urías tossed seven scoreless innings in the first outing against the Mariners this season. He picked up right where he left off, allowing just one run over seven innings of work in Wednesday’s win. Urías retired the first 13 batters he faced before Ty France’s one-out single in the fifth.
The left-hander struck out six and allowed two hits, limiting the Mariners’ offense to just two hard-hit balls. He was also extremely efficient, needing just five pitches to get through the seventh inning and 87 throughout his entire outing. In two starts against the M’s this season, Urías allowed three hits and struck out 17 batters.
“That was the start that I was kind of waiting for,” Urías said in Spanish. “This week, we just focused on working on the pitches that I missed with during my last start. Honestly, I really liked the results tonight.”
With Dustin May out for the season, the Dodgers are going to continue to rely heavily on Urías. He delivered again on Wednesday.
Is the offense back?
It’s only been two games, so the Dodgers’ offense will need to show more over the course of the nine-game homestand, but the bats are certainly starting to wake up.
As a team, the Dodgers scored six runs, the first time since April 15-16 that they scored six or more runs in back-to-back games.
“Just all around, we’re playing much better,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “We have too good of talent to have guys continue to struggle collectively. It’s nice to see some guys come out of it and put some wins together. It’s just a sign of our club playing good baseball.”
But while it was a collective effort from the lineup -- which is great news for the Dodgers -- it was Matt Beaty and Muncy that led the charge yet again. Beaty got the Dodgers on the board with a two-run double in the fourth. Since being recalled on April 24, Beaty is tied for second in the Majors with 18 RBIs. He’s also 5-for-5 with a homer and two doubles with the bases loaded.
Muncy, on the other hand, went 2-for-2 with two walks and smacked his seventh homer of the season with a two-run blast in the fifth.
Even during the recent nightmare slump, the Dodgers’ offense kept saying they would be fine. They’re starting to prove themselves right.
Bullpen and defense
The Dodgers’ bullpen and team defense struggled during the recent skid. Not on Wednesday.
Justin Turner got the defense going early, playing a one-hopper perfectly to rob Mitch Haniger of a hit in the first. Muncy then continued to become well-acquainted with the netting down the first-base line, as he made another difficult catch in foul territory before he banged into the protective netting. Mookie Betts also made a nice catch in the sixth, robbing Kyle Lewis on a ball that had an expected batting average of .610.
“I think the overall team defense has been considerably better,” Roberts said. “We’re finishing plays much better than we have in the last few weeks prior.”
Out of the bullpen, Jimmy Nelson made his first appearance in eight days, retiring all six batters he faced. After a shaky start to his season, Nelson has not allowed a run over his last five appearances. The Dodgers’ bullpen tossed four scoreless innings in the two-game sweep.