Pollock Swats Three Bombs
A.J. Pollock drilled three solo home runs against the Giants on Friday but the Dodgers lost the game anyway. Pollock twice took starter Jeff Samardzija deep and then victimized closer Will Smith with the bases empty in the ninth inning. None of the home runs were cheapies -- each one traveled at least 420 feet. The rest of the Dodger lineup managed only three hits in the contest and Pollock's heroics were not enough to overcome that weak display of batsmanship.
Of all the Dodger players on the field Pollock seems like one of the least likely to break out for a longball barrage. Entering the game there were 10 Dodgers with more home runs than Pollock this year. The Dodgers have 11 players who have hit double-digit homers -- and three of them have already hit 30 or more, including Cody Bellinger, who ranks third in the majors with 44 bombs. They also have Gavin Lux, who had 26 homers in the minors before getting called up this week. The Dodgers have hit 253 home runs so far this year, which is a National League record for any team and they still have 19 more games yet to play. It was the second three-homer game of Pollock's career -- he did it last year against the Dodgers while playing for the Diamondbacks.
Pollock is playing his first season with the Dodgers and is slashing .267/.326/.482 with 13 home runs and 39 RBI in 70 games played. He spent two months on the injured list this spring with an infection in his right elbow. Prior to joining the Dodgers he spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Diamondbacks, hitting a total of 74 dingers over that period. He has hit more home runs (17) against the Dodgers in his career than against any other team. It is a statistical oddity that he has a pair of three-homer games despite hitting only 87 career bombs in 707 games. He is actually known more for his base-running prowess than his power. He has stolen as many as 39 bases in a single season while owning a career high of 21 homers in a season.
Ryu Needs Rest
The Dodgers are tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball and they have a commanding 17-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West division. Despite that success they haven't been playing that well lately, especially when it comes to starting pitching. The starting rotation has a 5.67 ERA over the last 14 games. Ace Hyun-Jin Ryu seemed to have the NL Cy Young award locked up a couple of weeks ago but he's given up 21 runs over his last four starts. Amazingly, he gave up just 23 earned runs in his first 22 starts.
The Dodgers announced on Friday that they would skip Ryu on their next turn through the rotation as they try to get things lined up for the post-season. Despite his recent struggles, Ryu is 12-5 with a sterling 2.45 ERA and 1.06 WHIP after 26 starts. His fantasy value is suppressed somewhat because of a lack of strikeouts compared to the top pitchers in the league. Ryu has fanned 142 batters against just 24 walks in 161 2/3 innings. There are 15 pitchers who have exceeded the 200 strikeout plateau already this year, including Gerrit Cole who leads the majors with 266 punchouts. The added rest should do Ryu some good -- he's already thrown more innings this year than in any season since his rookie campaign in 2013. He pitched a total of 213 1/3 innings over the last four years. Look for the Dodgers to take it easy on his workload for the rest of the regular season in an attempt to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
Willie Calhoun homered twice and drove in four runs in a 7-6 win over the Orioles. He had been stuck in a 2-for-22 slump but snapped that string with the pair of bombs. He got started early by smoking a solo shot to right field off Dylan Bundy in the first inning. He upped the ante by crunching a three-run shot off Bundy in the third frame. The Orioles' pitching staff makes for a good slump-buster -- they've surrendered a record-smashing 273 home runs this year and rank last in the majors with a 5.71 team ERA.
Calhoun has displayed elite power this year, cracking 18 home runs in just 64 games. That would be a 45-homer pace in a full 162 game schedule. He doesn't do much else to provide fantasy value though -- He has a .269 batting average and a weak .311 on-base percentage with 40 RBI and zero stolen bases. He is a slow runner and a liability on defense as well. He needs to hit with consistency to keep himself in the lineup given his lack of versatility.
National League Quick Hits: Clayton Kershaw was charged with three runs over four innings in a loss to the Giants... Mauricio Dubon went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three RBI to lead the Giants to a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers... Dinelson Lamet was charged with three runs -- one earned -- over six innings in a loss to the Rockies... Edwin Diaz blew another save but picked up a win in the Mets' victory over the Phillies... Christian Yelich blasted his 44th home run of the season in a win over the Cubs... Zach Davies allowed one run on three hits in five innings to beat the Cubs... J.T. Realmuto homered for the third straight game in a loss to the Mets... Cole Hamels gave up five runs on nine hits in only 3 1/3 innings of work in a loss to the Brewers...Miles Mikolas allowed one run over five innings while taking a no-decision versus the Pirates... Ketel Marte hit a three-run homer against the Reds... Eugenio Suarez ripped a three-run homer against the Diamondbacks, his 42nd round-tripper of the season... The Reds' Tyler Mahle struggled in a loss to the Diamondbacks, surrendering five runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings... Bryce Harper left the game against the Mets after being struck on the hand by a pitch. X-rays came back negative... Dallas Keuchel fired six innings of shutout baseball and struck out three batters in a win against the Nationals... Patrick Corbin allowed two runs (one earned) through five innings in a loss to the Braves... Robbie Ray was removed from Friday's start against the Reds due to a blister on his left middle finger. He allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings... Pablo Lopez allowed just two runs over 6 1/3 innings while allowing eight hits in a loss to the Royals... Rich Hill (elbow) is expected to rejoin the Dodgers' rotation on Thursday against the Orioles... Javier Baez will undergo an MRI on his injured left thumb on Saturday... Craig Kimbrel (elbow) said Friday that he expects to return from the injured list when first eligible on Thursday... The Dodgers will skip both Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler in their next trip through the rotation.
American League Quick Hits: Homer Bailey gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers... Dawel Lugo went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run scored to propel the Tigers to a victory over the Athletics... Christin Stewart went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer against the Athletics... Michael Pineda gave up one run and recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision against the Indians... Miguel Sano went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in the Twins’ loss to the Indians. It was his fourth golden sombrero of the season... Oscar Mercado went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI, a walk and a run scored against the Twins... Francisco Lindor went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and a pair of RBI in a win over the Twins... Lucas Giolito allowed two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Angels. He struck out eight batters... Alex Colome gave up a go-ahead solo homer and took a loss against the Angels... Tim Anderson went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a pair of runs scored in a loss to the Angels... Rafael Devers went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and two runs scored in a win over the Yankees. Devers is slashing .316/.367/.572 with with 29 homers and 107 RBI... Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 and hit a solo homer in a loss to the Red Sox... Mitch Moreland went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in a 6-1 win over the Yankees... Domingo German allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Red Sox... Mike Trout was removed from Friday's game against the White Sox due to right toe discomfort... Brock Burke allowed six runs over five innings against the Orioles and did not get a decision... Dylan Bundy gave up eight hits and five runs over six innings while not factoring into the decision against the Rangers... Austin Meadows went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI as the Rays shut out the Blue Jays... Hunter Dozier went 2-for-4 and launched a solo homer in a win over the Marlins... Jorge Lopez fired six shutout innings in a victory over the Marlins... Brendan McKay notched seven strikeouts in 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays... Clay Buchholz gave up four runs (three earned) in six innings and took a loss against the Rays... Luis Severino made a rehab start on Friday and struck out five batters in three innings. He could join the Yankees next week.