Dodgers News: Jason Heyward Explains Catch Against Marlins

Jason Heyward did his part to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the lead on Wednesday night before Lance Lynn imploded in an eventual blowout loss at the hands of the Miami Marlins.

Heyward’s first contribution was a solo home run that provided L.A. with a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Of greater note was Heyward’s 14th homer of the season came off a left-handed pitcher, as he’s largely been regulated to a platoon role with the Dodgers.

Then in the bottom of the fourth, Heyward went back on a drive to right field and scaled the fence for an inning-ending catch that stranded the bases loaded.

In reflecting on his play, Heyward explained the comfort he had with how the wall at loanDepot Park is constructed and the mindset of not having any other choice but to make the catch, via SportsNet LA:

“It definitely helps to have it in mind that I know there’s a regular padded wall in certain areas, little shorter wall kind of by the bullpen, and in between the chain fence. Just being aware that’s there, but also just going after the baseball. Not thinking a whole lot about that (the fence).

“I knew height-wise it was going to come down and I was going to have a play on it. But I also knew I had to be ready to climb the wall. In my mind, I’m like, ‘I don’t care if it’s the high wall or low wall. I’m going to do my best to catch this ball.’ It just happened to be right there.

“I was just kind of ready for whatever. Was able to get good footing on it, got a good grip and got up to make a play. Looking back at the replay, that was the only way to make that catch based on the height. A lot of fun. It was obviously a big spot in the game for us. Bases loaded, get out of that inning, get out of that jam and give ourselves a chance.”

Heyward has made several impressive catches in right field this season, and has enjoyed each of them:

“It doesn’t get old. It never gets old. I was actually thinking about that. Hitting a home run, super dope. Love that. Especially a chance to give your team a lead offensively. But doing that right there, bases loaded, two outs, to keep momentum, that was awesome. And then our bullpen guys being right there, to hype them up and get hype with them was super dope. And then Lance, he brings the energy every time. Obviously he wants to do well every time out and he wants the ball every time out, so I know that was a huge lift for him.”

The 34-year-old has graded six outs above average in right field so far this season, which would be his best mark since posting seven in that statistic in 2019.

Heyward doesn’t rank as well defensively in center field, where he’s appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Dodgers. However, with James Outman’s resurgence, the veteran has largely been solidified in right field.

Heyward’s overall production may become even more paramount if Mookie Betts is to have suffered a left foot injury. He left the stadium Thursday night on crutches but x-rays were negative.

Dodgers clubhouse leader: Jason Heyward

When recently asked which players are an extension of him in the Dodgers clubhouse, manager Dave Roberts named Betts, Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Miguel Rojas.

Roberts added that Heyward addressed a preparation issue with an unnamed player earlier this season to further drive home the point of the Dodgers maintaining a consistent focus and approach.

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