The Los Angeles Dodgers squandered a two-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night in a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but they walked away with a positive. They saw what their new superstar truly can do.
Mookie Betts hit his first home run in a Dodgers uniform, threw out a runner at third base trying to turn a double into a triple and drove in two runs in a stellar performance. With three hits, Betts raised his early season batting average 50 points from .206 to .256 in one night as he looks for consistency in the first weeks of his Dodgers career.
Betts figures to be back in the lineup Saturday when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play the third game of a four-game series in Phoenix.
"I think I was just searching and trying to find the right mechanics for my swing," Betts said when asked about his slow start. "It's kind of tough, with everything going on, it's kind of hard to get enough good work in but fortunately I was able to put together a good game."
Betts said he didn't feel pressure to perform for his new team but rather wasn't mechanically sound.
"With a guy like Mookie, you really can't tell if he's pressing because his demeanor is so consistent," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
The Dodgers turn to left-hander Julio Urias for his second start of the season on Saturday night. Urias got a no-decision in his first game, a 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on July 26, going five innings with three strikeouts, three walks and allowing an earned run on five hits.
Urias has made 29 career starts with 35 relief appearances, but this season appears to be firmly entrenched in the Dodgers' starting rotation. After three relief appearances and a 1-1 record in his career against Arizona, the 23-year-old will start against the Diamondbacks for the first time.
The Dodgers got good news on Friday with the announcement that star left-hander Clayton Kershaw will start Sunday's game at Arizona, his 2020 debut after being scratched from the season opener on July 23. Kershaw dealt with back stiffness but got through bullpen sessions with no setbacks, allowing Los Angeles to activate him from the injured list.
The Diamondbacks hope to build off of Friday's comeback win. Manager Torey Lovullo called it a "push" win that could help jump start the team into better results.
Until a four-run rally in the eighth inning that led to the win, the Diamondbacks had struggled with runners in scoring position in the series.
"These guys aren't trying to make mistakes in any part of the game," Lovullo said. "I focus more on their effort and as long as they're giving a great effort and doing what they can, I'm going to run with the good and bad moments."
Right-hander Luke Weaver is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Arizona. Weaver (0-1) took the loss in his 2020 debut Monday against the San Diego Padres, allowing six runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings.
Weaver was limited to 12 starts due to a right forearm injury last season, and finished 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA. He made just one start against the Dodgers in 2019 and got a no-decision.
--Field Level Media