Connect with us

Sports

Bullpen comes to the rescue as Dodgers open trip with win over Nationals

Published

on

Bullpen comes to the rescue as Dodgers open trip with win over Nationals

After weeks of worrisome late-game blunders, there finally was redemption for the Dodgers bullpen Tuesday night.

On a night their starting pitcher failed to complete five innings, and their lineup managed only one run before the final couple of frames, it was five other numbers that keyed a 4-1 Dodgers win over Washington at Nationals Park.

0. 0. 0. 0. 0.

As in, the five goose eggs the Dodgers’ once-struggling bullpen put on the scoreboard.

Advertisement

“The bullpen,” manager Dave Roberts said, “was really good tonight.”

Entering the night, the unit had been anything but lately, emerging as one of the biggest concerns during the Dodgers’ underwhelming 13-11 start to the season.

The group was without injured right-handers Brusdar Graterol and Blake Treinen (the latter will begin a rehab assignment this week). It had compiled a 4.35 ERA through the opening month, the 10th-worst mark in the majors. And it had been a common culprit during a 3-6 homestand last week.

But Tuesday against the rebuilding Nationals, relievers Michael Grove, Alex Vesia, Daniel Hudson and Evan Phillips helped the Dodgers overcome an early offensive lull, then hang on to a narrow lead late, combining for 4-1/3 scoreless innings in a victorious start to a nine-game trip.

“We’re always gonna be ready to go down there,” Phillips said.

Advertisement

While starter James Paxton surrendered just one run in his fourth start, the veteran left-hander again struggled with his command. He walked three batters (he has 17 this season) and struck out just one, forcing Roberts to replace him with one out in the fifth after 89 laborious pitches.

On the other side of the plate, the Dodgers’ lineup was kept silent by the Nationals’ own left-handed veteran, Patrick Corbin.

Last year Corbin’s 5.20 ERA was third worst in the majors among qualified starters. This season his 8.06 mark entering Tuesday ranked dead last, after he gave up five runs in 6⅓ innings at Dodger Stadium last week.

In his rematch against the Dodgers, though, the 34-year-old looked like his former All-Star self. He spun 5⅓ shutout innings. He walked three batters but gave up just three hits while collecting three strikeouts.

It was only once Corbin left the game that the Dodgers finally found life. Later in the sixth, they manufactured a two-out rally that culminated with Kiké Hernández’s tying single. In the eighth, James Outman put the Dodgers in front with an RBI double and Miguel Rojas singled him home. Then, in the ninth, Shohei Ohtani supplied an exclamation point with his sixth home run, clobbering a 450-foot, second-deck blast that exploded off his bat at 118.7 mph.

Advertisement

“It looks like a cruise missile,” Outman said. “That was absurd.”

Underpinning the entire performance was the bullpen.

Grove stranded the two runners he inherited from Paxton in the fifth, then got two outs — with a walk in between — in the sixth.

Vesia took over from there, stranding Grove’s runner with a deep flyout before returning to the mound for a scoreless seventh.

And once the Dodgers took the lead in the eighth — a rally that started with a single and steal from Teoscar Hernández — Roberts’ late-game decisions were easy.

Advertisement

Hudson, the former Nationals closer who has returned from two injury-plagued seasons to become the Dodgers’ set-up man, worked around a two-out walk in the eighth to lower his ERA to 2.45.

Phillips had a more adventurous appearance in the ninth, loading the bases on three walks and a single — the Nationals ran into one out on the bases — before ultimately surviving with his sixth save and a sub-1.00 ERA.

“Fortunately,” a relieved Phillips said, “I was able to finish it out today.”

Indeed, and as he and the Dodgers celebrated in the handshake line, it was the bullpen at last that deserved the credit — and not the blame — in a close, low-scoring contest that wasn’t decided until the final innings.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sports

Celtics advance to NBA Finals after completing sweet of Pacers

Published

on

Celtics advance to NBA Finals after completing sweet of Pacers

All season long, the Eastern Conference was the Boston Celtics’ to lose.

After dominating their side of the bracket, they are back in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics completed the sweep of the Indiana Pacers on Monday night to return to the bidding of the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the second time in three seasons.

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics accepts The Larry Bird Trophy after winning Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on May 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Advertisement

The Pacers did all they could to live to see another day, leading by as many as nine points, but Derrick White broke a 102-102 tie with a three-pointer with just about 45 seconds to go.

Indy led by four with 3:33 to go, but missed their final four shots and turned the ball over twice – Jrue Holiday grabbed an offensive rebound with just over four seconds left to ice it.

The Celtics are seeking revenge after last year’s utter failure, where as the No. 2 seed, lost in the first round to the Miami Heat, an eighth seed, in the Eastern Conference Finals – they had fallen in that series, three games to none, and forced a Game 7, but lost it.

Celtics win East

The Boston Celtics celebrate after winning Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on May 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Boston has not won the title since 2008 – they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games two years ago. It’s currently their second-longest drought, with their longest having been from 1987 to their most recent championship season 15 years ago. 

After beating the Los Angeles Lakers that year, Kobe Bryant got revenge by winning two years later, going back-to-back.

Advertisement

Tyrese Haliburton missed his second-straight game for Indiana with an injured left hamstring.

Jaylen Brown with trophy

Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics accepts the The Larry Bird Trophy earning the Eastern Conference Finals MVP after winning Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on May 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Boston is 12-2 in these playoffs – they beat both the No. 8 Heat and No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers in five games.

Jaylen Brown was named the series MVP, averaging 27.3 points per game.

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Sports

Eagles Flight, half brother to Flightline, makes impressive winning debut at Santa Anita

Published

on

Eagles Flight, half brother to Flightline, makes impressive winning debut at Santa Anita

As Eagles Flight was walked from the detention barn toward the paddock at Santa Anita on Monday, the 3-year-old son of Curlin could look up and see a mural of his half brother, 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline. Expectations were high for Eagles Flight’s debut after a series of dazzling workouts, and let’s just say the future looks bright.

With jockey Flavien Prat aboard and sent off as the even-money favorite, Eagles Flight won the maiden special weight race for six furlongs by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:10.07. The way Eagles Flight pulled away in the stretch and overcame being in tight quarters and having dirt kicked into his face made trainer John Sadler very happy.

“He got about four races of experience in him from one race,” Sadler said.

There was a brief delay in the paddock because Prat was wearing the wrong silks and needed to switch to those from Summer Wind Equine, the breeder and primary owner with Hronis Racing and William Farish. Eagles Flight’s mother, Feathered, also produced Flightline, who won all six of his starts and also was trained by Sadler.

Advertisement

Sadler said afterward Eagles Flight acts as if he wants to run a mile, so that could be in the future plans, maybe even the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar later this year.

Continue Reading

Sports

Bill Walton's former colleague, Jim Gray, 'heartbroken' over death of 'best friend': 'A national treasure'

Published

on

Bill Walton's former colleague, Jim Gray, 'heartbroken' over death of 'best friend': 'A national treasure'

The sports world lost an icon on Monday as basketball Hall of Famer-turned-analyst Bill Walton died of cancer at age 71.

Walton was loved by many, especially former colleague Jim Gray, who worked with Walton for several networks, and the two shared a friendship for 40 years.

“My heart is broken. Bill Walton was the best friend a guy could ever have,” Gray sent in an email to Fox News Digital. “He was loving, generous, kind, caring, intelligent, and so much fun. He loved life, his family, basketball, and most of all, people. I always marveled at how he had time for everyone and was never in a hurry. Bill was a national treasure and brought joy to the world.”

Announcer Jim Gray, right, is shown with analyst Bill Walton during the Duke-Wisconsin game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 6, 2015. (John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Advertisement

“For 40 years, every time we were together, we would laugh,” he wrote. “He was a library of knowledge and a fountain of wisdom. Broadcasting games together at CBS, NBC, ESPN, ABC, Westwood One, and the [Sacramento] Kings was a strange and wonderful journey. I’m grateful for all the years with Bill. It was the blessing of a lifetime. He will be in my heart forever.”

“May God rest his soul and bless Lori, Adam, Chris, Nate, and Luke. Frann and I send our love, and we will always honor Bill’s memory and be there for the Walton family, just as he was always there for us,” Gray continued.

“Bill would always say, ‘I’m the luckiest man in the world.’” No, Bill, I am, and we all are, because we knew you. Rest in peace, my friend.”

Walton once credited Gray for saving his life in 2017 by finding his spine surgeon when he had been going through physical issues and his spine “absolutely collapsed and failed” nine years prior. Walton said he “had nothing” and contemplated the worst.

Bill Walton smiles

Bill Walton as a part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 17, 2024, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

LEBRON JAMES’ AGENT SEEMS TO REVEAL NBA STAR’S OFFSEASON PLANS

Advertisement

“My life was not worth living. I was going to kill myself. If I had a gun, I would have used it,” Walton said. “But Jim called every single day, said, ‘Bill, don’t give up, you can make it …’ He did everything he could to make sure I still had a chance.”

Walton won three straight national player of the year awards from 1972 to 1974 before becoming the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. His impact on an NBA court was quick as the Trail Blazers would go on to win the 1978 NBA Championship, and Walton was named Finals MVP and the league MVP for that season.

Following his time in Portland, Walton moved on to the then-San Diego Clippers, where he spent four seasons, including his final one when they moved to Los Angeles. He joined the Celtics for the 1985-1986 season, helping them to the NBA title that year, and he was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year as well.  

Walton finished his career averaging 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game over 468 contests. He was named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

Walton’s color commentary was exceptional as he would always keep viewers – and his play-by-play partners – on their toes with wild stories from his playing days while providing excellent analysis and insight on the game at the same time.

Advertisement

Walton was also a father who passed the game down to his children, including Luke Walton, who won back-to-back NBA Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 during his playing days. Luke currently serves as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers after previously head coaching the Lakers (2016-2019) and Kings (2019-2022).

Bill Walton calling game

Bill Walton (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/File)

Chris Walton (San Diego State), Nate Walton (Princeton) and Adam Walton (LSU, Pomona College, College of Notre Dame) all played college basketball as well.

Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending