This recreation that didn’t depend for a lot, this midsummer recreation towards one other overmatched and underfunded opponent, was additionally an announcement recreation.
The Dodgers didn’t simply beat the Miami Marlins on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. They beat the perfect pitcher in baseball. They beat Sandy Alcantara.
They usually didn’t simply beat Alcantara. They completely pulverized him.
The Dodgers introduced their most convincing proof up to now of why they need to win the World Collection this yr, pole-axing Alcantara over the primary 3 2/3 innings of a 10-3 victory.
The injury: six earned runs and 10 hits, together with a house run by Cody Bellinger.
“A guy like this, you’re going to see in the postseason,” supervisor Dave Roberts mentioned. “To beat a guy like that, this says a lot for how good we can be.”
The destruction of Alcantara wasn’t an aberration, the high-scoring show a part of a season-long pattern. The Dodgers are hitting good pitching. They’re hitting the caliber of pitching they may face within the Nationwide League Division Collection and past.
Three days earlier, they knocked out reigning NL Cy Younger Award winner Corbin Burnes within the sixth inning of a recreation in Milwaukee. They’ve crushed Dylan Stop, Carlos Rodón, Logan Webb and Joe Musgrove. They’ve two wins over Yu Darvish and three over Merrill Kelly.
Who is aware of whether or not the Dodgers can determine their very own pitching, however come the playoffs, they shouldn’t all of a sudden cease hitting like lots of their earlier groups.
Alcantara began the sport with a 1.92 earned-run common that was the perfect within the majors. His 173 innings had been additionally probably the most in baseball, the pitcher closest to him greater than 25 innings behind.
The Dodgers abused him.
“I don’t know what happened,” Alcantara mentioned.
Alcantara averaged solely 14.2 pitches per inning earlier than Sunday. The Dodgers made him throw 27 pitches within the first inning alone.
Will Smith’s single drove in Mookie Betts to provide the Dodgers a 1-0 lead within the first inning, however equally damaging had been prolonged at-bats by Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy. Freeman’s at-bat lasted 11 pitches, Muncy’s seven.
Whereas Freeman’s and Muncy’s at-bats resulted in outs, they gave pause to the usually assertive Alcantara, who puzzled whether or not he was tipping his pitches.
“I think they have a lot of stuff to look for something for pitchers,” Alcantara mentioned of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers scored in every of the 4 innings Alcantara was within the recreation, Smith taking him out of his distress with a run-scoring, ground-rule double within the fourth.
“You have to keep making pitches, and not only to one or two guys,” Marlins supervisor Don Mattingly mentioned. “That lineup makes you make pitches all the way down through. So there’s no breathing room. That’s how they get you, by a bulk attack. A good pitcher, you have to keep making pitches.”
To Mattingly’s level: The Dodgers’ homers got here from the group’s No. 5 hitter, Muncy, and No. 9 hitter, Bellinger. The beforehand slumping Muncy has seven homers this month.
However what makes these Dodgers postseason threats are the hitters on the high of their lineup: Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freeman.
They hit good pitching.
“When you get in the playoffs, there’s only a couple guys on the team that hit good [stuff] all the time,” Mattingly mentioned. “The [Max] Scherzers, [Jacob] deGroms of the world, there are only a few guys who can hit those guys.”
Mattingly, who beforehand managed the Dodgers, mentioned the lineup of his former group reminds him of a number of the high-powered New York Yankees groups for which he was the hitting coach within the mid-2000s.
“You’ve got to attack them,” Mattingly mentioned. “You can’t pitch like you’re afraid. You’ve got to go get them out. You’ve got to get in the strike zone early, you’ve got to attack and get them out quick. You start messing around, they don’t chase, you get yourself in bad counts.”
That’s how the Mike Scioscia-managed Angels used to pitch to the Joe Torre-managed Yankees, based on Mattingly. The Angels eradicated the Yankees from the playoffs in 2002 and 2005.
“You get really good players, they know how you pitch them when guys don’t attack them,” Mattingly mentioned. “When you attack them, it’s different. They have to respect the fact that you’re trying to throw strikes. You’ve got a better chance of getting some swings and putting them in bad spots. If you keep letting them off the hook and putting them in good counts, they’re going to kill you.”
In late July, the Marlins had been swept at house by the New York Mets. Mattingly mentioned he considers the Dodgers and the Mets to be the category of the NL.
If the Dodgers and Mets performed a seven-game sequence in October, on which group would Mattingly place his cash?
“Not allowed to bet in baseball,” Mattingly mentioned with fun.