I got to watch my first game in over a week. It may not have turned out the way I wanted it to, but it was good to see baseball again. While the outcome guaranteed negatives, their were some positives to take from the game.
The biggest positive was Freddie Freeman joining an elite club of MLB hitters with 2,000 hits.
2,000 career hits for Freddie Freeman!
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHHarris) June 26, 2023
Reaction from family and fans after hit:
2000 hits for Freddie Freeman and a great moment pic.twitter.com/cqL6aIKWKI
— Bruce Kuntz (@Bnicklaus7) June 26, 2023
He is the 291st player to reach the milestone. He is the 6th active hitter. The other active hitters with 2,000 hits:
- Miguel Cabrera – 3,119 hits
- Joey Votto – 2,098 hits
- Nelson Cruz – 2,049 hits
- Elvis Andrus – 2,036 hits
- Andrew McCutchen – 2009 hits
There are three other active hitters that are closing in on 2,000 hits.
- Jose Altuve – 1,961 hits
- Evan Longoria – 1,911 hits
- Paul Goldschmidt, – 1,834
The two players just ahead of Freddie on the list are former Dodgers:
- Shawn Green (290) – 2,003 hits
- Todd Zeile (Tied 287) – 2,004 hits
Freddie has now reached a pair of career milestones while as a Dodger…300 HR and 2,000 hits.
Newest member of the 2,000-hit club. Congratulations, Freddie! pic.twitter.com/6s9byIZeTm
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 26, 2023
As I turned into the game, I learned that Chris Taylor went on the IL with a sore knee that is just not getting better. Yonny Hernández was recalled, and that left three position players remaining on the 40 man eligible for recall. All three are in Tulsa: Diego Cartaya (C), Jorbit Vivas (2B), Eddys Leonard (SS). None of the three are likely to be recalled. Max Muncy is due back on Tuesday, and that should send Yonny back to OKC.
As the Dodgers entered the Houston series, the team already had eight rookies on the 26-man roster:
- Emmet Sheehan
- Bobby Miller
- Michael Grove
- Nick Robertson
- James Outman
- Miguel Vargas
- Jonny DeLuca
- Michael Busch
Teams with 30%+ of rookies do not generally contend. However this LAD team with 8 rookies won the 1st two games of the Houston series.
After CT3 was placed on the IL, with Yonny Hernández now on the roster, that is 8 rookies, and one very near rookie on the 26-man. LAD came back twice, once down by 3 in the 8th and again by 1 on the 10th. They almost eked out a tying run in the 10th, but a fantastic defensive play by Mauricio Dubón to save a run on a Will Smith hard hit grounder up the middle. He not only saved the run, but got Smith out at 1st.
Doc decided to PH Miguel Vargas for Jonny DeLuca. That did not go well as Vargas struck out on a 3-2 sweeper at the top of the zone. Vargas had the more experience, but he has also been struggling of late. He is now batting .201 with a .677 OPS. Next batter, David Peralta, hit a weak ground ball to 3B for the 3rd out to end the game.
The Dodgers scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th after two outs. Mookie Betts was HBP and scored on Freddie’s double, his 2,000 hit. Will Smith followed with a 2-run HR in dead CF to knot the game at 4-4.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Dodgers were down a run. With Miguel Rojas the free runner on 2nd, Michael Busch had a productive out by pulling a hard hit ground ball to the right side getting Rojas to 3B. Mookie just missed hitting a walk off HR, but hit it deep enough to score Rojas.
The game started out on a high with Mookie slugging a leadoff HR, his 19 HR of 2023. It was also his 8th leadoff HR of the season, and 44th of his career. He is tied for 8th on the all-time leadoff HR list. Jimmy Rollins with 46 is next on the list, then Curtis Granderson with 47.
Mookie Betts hit his second leadoff home run of the series. pic.twitter.com/Nt97ws28W2
— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) June 25, 2023
Tony Gonsolin’s out pitch used to be his splitter. On this night, he hung two that were crushed out of the park for 2-run HRs. On a year that his velo is down across his repertoire, the velo was down on this game compared to the 2023 average on his two best pitches, the 4-seamer and splitter. He was able to generate only 5 whiffs on 28 swings. Except for the splitter, Gonsolin was fairly successful at creating soft contact.
The curious point in the game was that Gonsolin was pulled after 5.0 IP and only 61 pitches. I recognize that there was an off day on Monday, but with only 60 pitches and most of his pitches inducing soft contact, I was curious as to why Gonsolin was pulled after 61 pitches. That was extremely efficient with an average at 12 pitches per inning. That is certainly not taxing for a starting pitcher. Is there an underlying reason he was pulled after 5.0 IP, and his velo is down? No wild ass speculation, just a curious question. I did not hear any post-game explanation before composing this post.
Yes, Brusdar Graterol and Yency Almonte gave up runs in the extra innings. But Caleb Ferguson, Ryan Brasier, Nick Robertson, and Evan Phillips each pitched a scoreless inning to continue the current excellent relief work.
Daniel Hudson was the opener in the OKC game against Las Vegas. He faced 4 batters retiring all of them while striking out three of them. Hudson should be activated this week, and I would suspect that Nick Robertson will be optioned. Nick may not have been as consistent as he would have liked, but he showed enough that he will be back.
The rotation should also get another back this weekend. On Sunday, Julio Urías had a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga. He completed 4.0 IP, allowing 1 run, 2 hits, 1 BB, and 8 K. He threw 60 pitches in his 4.0 IP. Unfortunately those two hits and 1 walk all came in the 2nd inning. It has been reported that Urías will be activated for the weekend series against KC. Michael Grove is expected to be optioned at that time.
Jimmy Nelson is getting closer to being activated as well.
Next up for LAD is at Colorado. Clayton Kershaw, bullpen game, and Emmet Sheehan are scheduled to go against Colorado. Colorado has not been friendly for Clayton over the years. In 26 starts at Coors, CK has a 4.82 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP.