Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Praises Will Smith’s Defense
Kenley Jansen, Will Smith, Dodgers win
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers edged out a 3-2 win against the San Francisco Giants in a game that was dominated by the long ball.

The Dodgers accounted for three of the five solo home runs hit between the two teams in Monday’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, including Mookie Betts and Max Muncy going back-to-back to begin the scoring in the bottom of the first.

The Giants chipped away at the deficit in the top of the third when LaMonte Wade Jr. hit his sixth home run of the season off Trevor Bauer. It didn’t take long for the Dodgers to respond, however, as Will Smith hit a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fourth.

San Francisco added one more run on a Brandon Crawford blast in the sixth inning but were kept off the scoreboard from that point on. A big reason for that was the club’s struggles with runners in scoring position, as they went 0-for-13 in that department.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also credited Will Smith for not allowing Giants baserunners to advance on what could have been potential wild pitches by Blake Treinen. “Our guys just made pitches,” Roberts began.

“I can recall a few at-bats Trevor made some pitches when he needed to, got big strikeouts, weak contact. Blake needed to make a pitch or two, Victor needed to make pitches.

“Even that Blake inning, I can’t give Will Smith enough credit for some of those balls that were thrown about 58 feet in the dirt in front of home plate. To pick those balls, it could have been a lot different inning and game, so a lot of credit certainly goes to Will.

“Our guys made pitches when we needed to. It was certainly nice to get a lead; Mookie got us off to a nice start and Max followed that up. To play with a lead was big, and Will’s homer late. But again, it just comes down to pitching and making plays defensively when we had to.”

Roberts praises Muncy, Bellinger for excellent defense

In addition to Smith making some key stops, Roberts highlighted specific plays from Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger that helped limit the Giants offensively.

Muncy made an excellent play on a bunt in the fourth inning and Bellinger threw out Mike Tauchman trying to stretch out a leadoff double in the ninth.

“When you’re playing tight games against quality opponents and then you start to kind of forecast — we’ve done it throughout the postseason — those plays matter,” Roberts said.

“A lot of times they don’t show up in the scorecard but to get the lead runner in that situation, there was no panic from Max. He made a nice play and accurate throw.

“And then Cody to recover and there was another play he made coming in from center field to make a shoestring grab. When you can get more outs, whether at bat, by way of walk, taking extra bases and shorten the game by taking away outs, it’s important. Especially when you’re playing a good opponent.”

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