Home Sports Another strong outing from Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Dodgers victory

Another strong outing from Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Dodgers victory

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 7, 2024: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (18) pitches against the Miami Marlins in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on May 7, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is starting to give the Dodgers that feeling.

The feeling that every time he takes the ball the team will have a quality start. That every time he takes the mound, a series of zeros will follow. That, most importantly, on days when he pitches, the Dodgers should be positioned to win.

“You start to get that feeling of ‘It’s Yamamoto Day,’” the manager said. David Roberts he explained with a smile before the first pitch. “This is the day of victory.”

Tuesday was indeed another one of those days, with Yamamoto dazzling in an eight-inning, two-run start to lead the Dodgers past the Miami Marlins 8-2 at Dodger Stadium.

The game was Yamamoto’s third consecutive quality start, lowering his ERA to 2.79. It was his longest outing in the majors and made him just the second Dodgers (25-13) starter to pitch beyond the seventh inning.

And when asked his opinion on Yamamoto’s performance after the game, Roberts announced his one-word answer.

“Fantastic,” the manager said. “Really great job.”

With a big early lead, Yamamoto went on the attack against the Marlins (10-28), throwing his first 19 pitches for strikes and 73 of 97 overall.

Although he gave up a first-pitch home run off Jazz Chisholm Jr., he was able to “stay calm … and execute my pitches,” he said through his interpreter after the game, mixing in his splitter and his signature curveball to effectively limit the lineup. from Miami paperweights. The Marlins ranked 20th in the majors in scoring entering the game, with as many hits as strikeouts (five each).

Mookie Betts throws sunflower seeds at Max Muncy after Muncy hits a grand slam in the first inning.

“He’s starting to become that guy,” Roberts said before the game, reiterating Yamamoto’s growing status as a star pitcher and, along with Tyler Glasnow, rotation co-ace. “But again, (we want him) to just go out there and keep doing what he’s been doing. Because he has been really good.”

The start to Yamamoto’s rookie season was decidedly not good, particularly after the Dodgers signed him to a record $325 million contract in the offseason.

In his MLB debut in South Korea in late March, he allowed five runs in one inning. While he improved once the team returned to the states, he still had a 4.50 ERA in his first five starts.

In his last three, however, Yamamoto has shown a tantalizing level of dominance, with consecutive six-inning shutout outings before Tuesday’s gem.

More consistent command of the fastball has been key.

“Man, I feel like Will (Smith) just gets behind the plate, and wherever he gets, Yama throws it right there,” infielder Gavin Lux said. “He’s been really impressive so far.”

Yamamoto’s growing comfort level with the major leagues, and with his new Dodgers teammates in particular, has been equally important.

“It’s hard to be successful when you feel like you have to prove yourself to people who don’t believe in you or care about you,” Roberts said. “But when they do it, you feel like you have more freedom, more leeway. I think Yoshinobu is in a really comfortable situation right now, as he himself said. And his release reflects that.”

It helped that Yamamoto was pitching with a big lead again on Tuesday.

After giving up the leadoff home run, Yamamoto took a 4-1 lead on Max Muncy’s grand slam in the bottom of the first. The game was almost over in the third, when Lux’s first home run of the season marked another four-run comeback.

“It felt good,” said Lux, whose last MLB home run was in August 2022, before missing last season due to a knee injury. “Last year the road to recovery was long and then the start was slow. Nobody wants to do that. So he felt really good.”

The score was so out of control against a last-place Marlins team that has already started selling off key pieces (they traded last season’s NL batting champion Luis Arráez to San Diego last week ) that Roberts took some key players out of the game. early.

Teoscar Hernández, who has not yet had a day off, left the game after four innings. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, who have also started all 38 games so far, were eliminated in the seventh and eighth, respectively.

Read more: Plaschke: Shohei Ohtani makes the Dodgers dream of a different October

All of that, however, was made possible by Yamamoto’s performance on the mound, even if the pitcher himself rejected the idea that completing eight innings was any kind of “achievement.”

“The most important thing is to lead the team to victory,” Yamamoto said. “Today I kept my pace and also a good pace in general. “If I could do this every game, I would like to do it.”

So would the Dodgers.

Before the match, Roberts acknowledged that he was initially “hesitant” to put too much pressure on the 25-year-old Japanese star. He didn’t want to treat Yamamoto’s early days any differently since he was getting his feet wet in the big leagues.

But now, Roberts said, “he’s earning the right for us to see him as such.”

To be considered the ace, the Dodgers, when accounting for Yamamoto’s posting fee, spent more than $375 million to sign him this winter.

To give to your new team that feeling like they can win every time they take the mound.

Clayton Kershaw pitched his second bullpen session in his return from shoulder surgery, impressing the Dodgers staff, many of whom had gathered to watch him pitch, with a 20-pitch effort, mostly fastballs.

“It increased with speed. She felt good. Free and easy,” Roberts said. “It’s really encouraging. He is in a good mood. He had a lot of eyes on him. “Really a good day for us.”

Kershaw, who continues to aim to return during the second half of the year, will continue to step up his bullpen sessions in the short term, Roberts said, including a higher pitch count and a greater mix of breaking pitches. From there, the team will decide when he can begin a rehabilitation task.

“Right now, we’re not focused on the results, but on how you feel and how you improve,” Roberts said. “When you feel good, your body feels good and that puts you in a much better mood. So you’re in a good place. Just the feeling of being free and calm and letting him throw the ball as hard as he can without feeling pain.”

short jumps

Jason Heyward (back) continued to increase his baseball activities, taking batting practice and running the bases. Heyward will take live at-bats during the team’s series in San Diego this weekend, then could go on a rehab assignment of between two and five games, Roberts said. … Bobby Miller (shoulder) is also close to a rehab assignment, but he will still need to pitch at least one more bullpen before that, Roberts said. … Emmet Sheehan (forearm) hasn’t pitched off a mound yet, but he’s stepping up his long-throwing work.

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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