Taylor out with fractured foot, but LA still cruises to win

Muncy, Betts homer to help No. 6 prospect Pepiot to first big league win

July 6th, 2022

LOS ANGELES – Despite being 22 games over .500, the Dodgers have had to navigate a wave of injuries this season. On Tuesday, the Dodgers found out they’ll be without Chris Taylor for an extended period of time.

Taylor underwent a CT scan before the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, which was Taylor's bobblehead night. The scan revealed a small fracture in his left foot. Taylor, who will go on the injured list on Wednesday, is not sure how long he’ll be sidelined.

“Not what I was hoping for, obviously,” Taylor said on the SportsNet LA pregame show. “It was definitely a surprise to me, but it showed a small fracture there and it’s going to be a little longer than initially expected.”

Taylor sustained a left foot contusion Saturday against the Padres. After undergoing X-rays, which didn’t reveal any damage, Taylor was back in the Dodgers’ lineup on Monday against the Rockies. But after playing five innings, Taylor said the pain around his left ankle intensified. Taylor was removed from the game before the top of the sixth inning.

With Taylor headed to the IL on Wednesday, the Dodgers will need to patch things together in left field. Jake Lamb started in left field on Tuesday. Gavin Lux and Trayce Thompson will also get more playing time in left. Mookie Betts, who was expected to play mostly second base as he recovers from a fractured right rib, goes back to playing his natural right field.

Taylor was in the middle of a 1-for-20 slump at the plate, but the 2021 All-Star was hitting .238 with six homers and 27 RBIs this season. Taylor becomes the sixth Dodgers position player to land on the IL this season.

“Very disappointing, obviously, to lose a player like CT,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “But hopefully it’s not too long-term. Once we get this swelling out, it’s going to be more per his tolerance. So hopefully it’s not more than a couple of weeks.”

Losing Taylor will be a blow for the Dodgers’ offense, but they were able to do enough on Tuesday against Rockies’ starter Germán Márquez. Max Muncy got the Dodgers on the board with a two-run homer, his eighth of the season, in the second inning. Muncy has struggled this season, but is in the middle of a power surge, hitting three homers in his last seven games.

Muncy has been doing most of his damage on the first pitch. His homer came on a first-pitch fastball from Márquez. In his second at-bat, he sent the first pitch he saw down the right-field line for a double.

“The last two weeks, I’ve really felt more like myself,” Muncy said. “I know the results aren’t necessarily there, but I feel like I’m hitting the ball really, really hard. A little bit of bad luck here and there, but that’s just the game of baseball. Got to stay above it and just do what you can to help the team out.”

An inning later, Betts got in on the action and gave the Dodgers some insurance with a solo homer off Márquez. It was Betts’ team-leading 18th homer of the season, his first since coming off the injured list on Sunday.

That was enough run support for No. 6 prospect Ryan Pepiot, who was announced as the starter just a few hours before the game. Pepiot responded by allowing one run over five innings, en route to his first Major League win.

“Definitely with each time I’ve been out here, I'm a little more comfortable each time,” Pepiot said. “Today, I kind of really put the pieces together, going out there -- a home game, a night game, lots of fun and a lot of adrenaline.”

The Dodgers have had plenty of practice this season in weathering injuries. They just experienced it with Betts out for three weeks with the fractured right rib. The pitching staff has done the same, with guys like Pepiot filling in with Walker Buehler and Andrew Heaney on the injured list.

They’ll have to withstand Taylor’s injury. They did just that on Tuesday night. 

“He’s a grinder for us. He’s a great player and he’s been great for us this year and it was devastating news to hear that,” Muncy said. “But CT’s also one of the toughest people I’ve ever met, so you can bank on him being back sooner rather than later.”