The Dodgers sandwiched a pair of fantastic performances on Friday and Sunday around a lackluster offensive effort on Saturday, giving good reason why many pundits view them as the best team in the majors at this point of the season.
Sunday’s 10-2 victory propelled the Dodgers to a 11-4 record, keeping them atop the NL West while tying the Giants for the division lead in victories.
The Dodgers got a solid effort from lefty veteran Clayton Kershaw, who improved to 3-0 after allowing one earned run on four hits and no walks over an even five innings of work. Kershaw left the game having thrown 75 pitchers with an 8-1 lead, giving skipper Dave Roberts the option of resting him early.
Kershaw threw fairly well, as he featured an effective mix of heat and breaking pitches. His four-seam sat right around 91.5 mph after having averaged just over 90 mph through his first two starts.
Kersh entered the game trailing Dodgers legend Don Sutton by seven strikeouts for the franchise lead. If everything stays on schedule, Kershaw will have another shot at the record next Saturday when the Tigers visit Los Angeles, which is coincidentally Kirk Gibson Bobblehead Night.
Cody Bellinger was one of the big heroes on Sunday, smacking two long balls to power the team two days after Mookie Betts had a two-homer game of his own. After battling the after-effects of an injury and significant slumps last year, Bellinger has shown improvement, at least in the small sample size we’ve seen so far. Over his first 55 AB this season, he has put together a .273/.333/.915 slash line with four homers and eight RBI.
Justin Turner also had two hits for the Dodgers on Sunday out of the designated hitter spot, lifting his season average back over the Mendoza line.
In addition to Bellinger’s blasts, another notable shot came off the bat of Freddie Freeman when he delivered a 425-foot laser into the right-center field bleachers in the top of the third, stretching the Los Angeles lead to three.
Before the game, the Dodgers purchased the contract of 29-year-old righty pitcher Reyes Moronta from Triple-A Oklahoma City after utilityman Zach McKinstry was optioned, then quickly re-activated when lefty pitcher David Price landed on the injured list.
Moronta, who recorded 56 relief appearances for the Giants last season, made his 2022 big-league debut for the Dodgers not long after being activated on Sunday, throwing one full inning and allowing one hit with one strikeout and no walks.
Los Angeles signed Moranta as a non-roster free agent in mid-March. He appeared in four Cactus League games during spring training, allowing three runs over 3-1/3 innings with four strikeouts.
After the game, the Dodgers took off for Arizona, where they will begin a three-game set against the Diamondbacks on Monday. The starting pitching order lines up as Walker Buehler for Game 1, followed by Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias.