Rookie magic takes over Chavez Ravine
The well-known screenwriter texted his agent and said he’d just written a script from a dream he’d had. In the script, the home town baseball team (let’s call them the Dodgers) was playing the team in 2nd place trying to catch them. The agent asked for the highlights and the screenwriter provided the bullet points.
- The two games prior to the series the Dodgers had to use their bullpen because of an injury to their starter. To make this happen they had dropped a rookie on the team and picked up another rookie. That rookie got hurt and the originally dropped rookie was re-instated for the first game of the series. Are you with me so far? That rookie hits a walk-off home run to win the first game after the Dodger pitcher pitches the best game of the year.
- In the second game of the series, the Dodgers are playing a rookie center-fielder who is only playing because the original center-fielder is hurt. That rookie center-fielder hits a walk-off home run to win the second game.
- In the third game of the series, the Dodgers bring up another rookie to help out with roster depth. That guy is a catcher. He doesn’t start, in fact, he doesn’t even come in when the original catcher leaves. The second catcher blows a play at the plate and the came is tied headed into the bottom of the ninth. With a runner on second, the opposing manager walks the second catcher to face the rookie. On the first pitch, the rookie hits a three-run walk-off home run.
The screenwriter stops texting for a second and takes a call from his agent. All he can hear is laughter from his phone. Loud cackling laughter. The laughter finally stops and the agent gasps out “let me get this straight, you want to pitch a screenplay where a baseball team wins three games in a row with walk-off home runs, and the kicker is that each walk-off home run was hit b a rookie?”
This is a cliche, but not even Hollywood would believe what happened this weekend at Chavez Ravine.
Matt Beatty was sent down Wednesday Night because Rich Hill only pitched one inning and they needed arms. Josh Sborz was one of those arms. Josh pitched on Thursday Night and either was legitimately hurt, or the Dodgers told him he was hurt. Either way, Josh Sborz was put on the injured list Thursday Night, and the Dodgers brought back up Matt Beatty who was plugged into left field. With the score 2 – 2, Max Muncy worked a walk and Matt Beatty slugged a two-run walk-off home run. This might end up being the greatest moment of Matt Beatty’s career.
Alex Verdugo was already having another great game on Saturday Night with three hits including a double and home run when he came up in the bottom of the eleventh with the Dodgers tied at 4. At this point in the season, the Dodgers had yet to score one single run in an extra-inning game in 2019. One pitch later the Dodgers had won 5 – 4 when Verdugo deposited the Jesus Tinoco deep into right field. That gave the Dodgers two straight walk-off home runs, and both by rookies. That was the first time in history that two rookies had hit back to back walk-off home runs.
The best was yet to come.
Will Smith was brought up before the game on Sunday. He had been on a tear with the AAA Oklahoma Dodgers having hit six home runs in his previous twenty-seven AAA at-bats. Will Smith didn’t start the game Austin Barnes did. Will Smith didn’t come into the game when Austin Barnes was lifted for a pinch hitter, Russell Martin was. As I was watching this game, I said to myself that this was set up perfectly for a Will Smith walk off. I laughed to myself at the thought but when Martin misplayed a play at the plate and the game was tied a 3- 3, I tweeted out my ridiculous thought.
It is crazy how this is setting up for Will Smith to walk this off
4:02 PM – 23 Jun 2019
— Phil Gurnee (@meercatjohn) June 23, 2019
The bottom of the ninth found the Dodgers facing the Rockies best relief pitcher Scott Oberg. Matt Beatty (remember him) started the ninth with a single. Enrique Hernandez fouled out. With Chris Taylor batting a wild pitch sent Beatty to second. It was a great read by Beatty because the ball didn’t get far from Wolters but he took second anyway. Chris Taylor had tied the game with a stirring three-run pinch-hit home run in the 7th which removed Austin Barnes from the game. Russell Martin was up with Will Smith in the batting circle ready to hit for Kenley Jansen. Bud Black intentionally walked Russell Martin who had appeared to be in a fog ever since he entered the game for Austin Barnes. Will Smith hit the first pitch over the RCF wall for the third straight walk-off home run by a rookie.