View Original Notice ? ‘Crazy’ day left Dodgers’ Michael Grove ‘floating’ through his MLB debut
LOS ANGELES — Michael Grove will always look back on his first inning in the major leagues fondly.
The second inning? Not so much.
Short-handed in their starting rotation after injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney, the Dodgers turned to a rookie to make his MLB debut for the second time this week. Neither gave up an earned run.
The Dodgers’ second-round pick in the 2018 draft, Grove had never pitched an inning above Double-A (and only 87 ? at that level) before taking the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday.
“It was crazy. I was kind of floating the first inning or so,” Grove said after the game. “They asked me afterwards like, ‘Do you remember the first batter?’ Little bits and pieces.”
Those were the good bits. Grove retired the side in order in the first, getting Alec Bohm on a 95 mph fastball for his first big-league strikeout.
He was about to put up another zero in the second inning when Gavin Lux’s error opened the door for the Phillies. Six consecutive batters reached base at one point and four unearned runs scored.
“It happens,” Grove said of the error.
“It’s my job to keep making pitches. In that inning I don’t think I did a great job of that after the error. But the next couple of innings just being able to put up a zero and get a couple more outs and get our bullpen a little deeper into the game, I thought was important.”
Grove did get out of the inning, retired the side in order in the third and got two outs in the fourth before reaching 70 pitches and getting pulled by Dave Roberts.
“I thought (it was) as good as we could have expected,” Roberts said. “There were a few walks in there but there were some strikeouts (three of each).
“It was a big learning experience for him and we’re proud of him.”
Jean Segura’s home run against Julio Urías on Saturday was remarkable for its modesty. With an exit velocity of 91.0 mph per Statcast, it was the second-softest home run hit this season. Measured at 340 feet, only five have been hit a shorter distance.
If the first month of the season was defined by fly balls dying on the warning track, the Dodgers’ homestand has been an awakening. The first four games have featured 13 homers. Segura’s low-arcing fly ball into the first row of seats was the punctuation mark.
“It was a little strange, seeing those balls go out,” Urías said through an interpreter. “All credit goes to them.”
Others were quicker to credit the weather. The official game-time temperature of 81 degrees Saturday was easily the highest at Dodger Stadium this year. Roberts pointed to there being “not much moisture in the air” Saturday.
“Also both sides haven’t made good pitches,” he added, perhaps the ultimate barometer.
But baseball’s ongoing conspiracy theories about the composition of the baseball hovers over everything.
“It seemed like (Saturday) was a little bit different,” Trea Turner said. “Some balls hit under 100 mph went out. Even Mookie’s (Betts’ home run), he hit his ball really well obviously but it was pretty low. We haven’t seen many oppo home runs from righties this year. That one got out as well.
“It’s just one of those days, or we got a different batch of balls. Maybe it’s hotter. I don’t know.”
By Sunday morning, Roberts was ready to add his suspicions to the mix.
“It’s magically starting to carry a little more the last four days,” he said with a wry smile.
Roberts said optimistically both Kershaw and Heaney could be throwing bullpen sessions at some point this week.
Kershaw played catch Sunday morning and still had “some soreness,” according to Roberts.
“And quite frankly, I don’t know if it’s from the shot or it’s from just kind of the back itself,” Roberts said of Kershaw who received an epidural injection Friday to treat SI joint inflammation. “Hopefully, tomorrow when he plays catch, it subsides … And then I think Wednesday we’re hoping to get a ‘pen in there. So we’ll see kind of how it’s progressing.”
Heaney, meanwhile, has continued with his throwing program. He has yet to throw off a mound but could progress to that stage later this week.
Tyler Anderson will start one of the Dodgers’ two games Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Roberts would say only that Ryan Pepiot is “in the mix” to start the other half of the doubleheader. But Pepiot was technically optioned to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga yesterday (from Triple-A Oklahoma City), keeping him close by for that Tuesday start. …
Relievers Reyes Moronta and Garrett Cleavinger were optioned to OKC Sunday with Grove and Shane Greene added to the roster. Victor Gonzalez (elbow surgery Wednesday) was placed on the 60-day Injured List to open a 40-man roster spot for Greene who got the win Sunday with two innings of scoreless relief.
Diamondbacks (LHP Madison Bumgarner, 2-1, 1.78 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Tony Gonsolin, 3-0, 1.33 ERA), Monday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM