The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of a soft part of their schedule, having played the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers in consecutive series.
The Dodgers now continue the second half of their homestand against an underachieving Philadelphia Phillies club before traveling to Chase Field to take on yet another last-place team in the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since the start of the stretch, L.A. has gained two games on the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings. They enter play Monday only one game behind their rival and conceivably could leapfrog them this week.
The Dodgers certainly have benefitted from the lull in their schedule but manager Dave Roberts is treating each team equally. “I don’t think we do,” he said of viewing the team’s recent matchups as being an opportunity to gain ground in the NL West.
“Everyone that comes in is going to try to play their best baseball. I just don’t think that mindset is helpful. Like we’ve talked about, it’s tough to win a baseball game.
“[Sunday], to be quite honest, I don’t think we played a very good baseball game; we came away with the win, Kenley came up big for us.
“But as far as standings, right now in June, I don’t think it really concerns us. We’ve got the Phillies coming in town, they’re playing well and we’re going to have our hands full.”
Roberts understandably wasn’t happy with the Dodgers’ performance in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers. L.A. took a comfortable 5-0 lead into the ninth inning, only to see Texas score three runs before an out was recorded.
Phil Bickford did not retire any of the four batters he faced and ultimately gave up two runs as Kenley Jansen allowed back-to-back hits. The right-hander settled down from there and recorded the final three outs to earn a save in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win.
“Bick’s been fine. Not that,” Roberts answered when asked if the ninth inning frustrated him. “Throughout the game there were some things that we need to get better at. Bick’s been really good for us. It was just good that Kenley came in and shut the door.”
Betts, McKinstry lead Dodgers’ offense in 5-3 win over Rangers
After being held to one run on Saturday, the Dodgers offense showed better signs of life in Sunday’s finale against the Rangers at Dodger Stadium.
Mookie Betts started the scoring when he scored on a Gavin Lux double to left-center field in the bottom of the first inning. Betts also hit his seventh home run of the season in the third.
Zach McKinstry enjoyed an excellent day at the plate as well, going 3-for-3 with a double, walk and two RBI. It marked his first three-hit game of the season and first multi-hit performance since returning from the injured list.
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