Los Angeles: The Dodgers look to win this series over the Cleveland Guardians and stay ever so slightly in front of the Padres of San Diego as we get closer to the All Star game here in Dodger Stadium this year.
Dodger starter Lefty Andrew Heaney was called up today from the AAA Oklahoma City due to the Dodgers having to put All Star Walker Buehler on the 15 day IL. Heaney threw mostly 91 mph fastballs and 80 mph sliders and held his own in this close game. He left the game after 5 innings leading 2-1. His line included 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. He threw 77 pitches 51 for strikes and gave the Dodgers a true quality start. But as we will see later, having to turn your game over to the bullpen in the major leagues today is like rolling the dice in Vegas.
Guardians starter Shane Bieber has always been a master of changing speeds on all of his pitches. When your arsenal includes fastball, slider, cutter, knuckle-curve and change-up and you can change speeds, that is a whole lot of confusion for hitters. But the Dodgers managed to out think Bieber collecting 7 hits and 3 runs over 6.1 innings off of this former CY Young winner.
When the Guardians chipped away to tie the game in the 8th inning it looked like another extra inning game was in the works. But then like a cloud coming down from heaven for the Guardians, the Dodgers brought in their closer Craig Kimbrel to hold the tie. Kimbrel didn’t disappoint the Kimbrel naysayers as he struck out the leadoff hitter like he normally does just to give Dodger fans a bit of hope. Followed by a walk, a double and then an intentional walk to load the bases with one out. Then a single and a sacrifice fly before he struck out the next batter to end the inning. Bravo for Kimbrel as he leaves with the Dodgers behind 5-3. Another blown save? Maybe not because the Guardians would be sending in 24 year old Emmanuel Clase, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic, to close the game. How good could this young kid be?
With Cleveland holding that 5-3 lead it was time to see what Clase could do. Well when you throw 9 cutters at 101 mph to three batters at the bottom of the order and include 95-96 nasty sliders, they call that “Game Over!” This is a 24 year old Latin rising star, who is a reminder of some other guy, wait his name will come to me, oh yeh, can you say Mariano Rivera? Wow! What a future for this kid!
The Dodgers didn’t let this game get away from them as much as the Guardians never gave up. It was a good series between two sure playoff contenders. But when Clase entered the game it was lights out, see you later!
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