For a team with the best record in baseball and primed to win a seventh consecutive National League West title, it can become easy to forget Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick, Edwin Rios, Will Smith, Tony Gonsolin and Josh Sborz have each made their MLB debut this year.
Some have been leaned on more heavily than others, with Beaty falling into that category. He’s steadily contributed since debuting at the end of April, and delivered yet again for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.
After the bullpen squandered a 6-0 lead and 10-strikeout performance by Clayton Kershaw, Beaty bailed the Dodgers out with a go-ahead, three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The homer was Beaty’s fifth this season and third in his past three games since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
“With Matt and players that rise to the occasion, they want to be that guy. For a guy that doesn’t have a whole lot of service time, you just see it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts marveled after Beaty’s heroics.
“He wants to be that guy, he isn’t afraid of that moment and he prepares so well. Just in the little time we’ve seen him, he’s just a pro. He’s always kind of watching, his ears are open from guys like Justin Turner and David Freese, just seeing how guys prepare. But the pulse is pretty special and he has come up with some big hits for us.
“Everything is with a purpose, from his cage work, to studying a pitcher, to the mechanics part of it, to when he’s getting ready to be called upon. I don’t need to look for him. He’s kind of seeing and thinking along with me.
“So as a player, when you’re not playing that particular day and you’re seeing how the game plays out and you’re seeing yourself in a certain moment, that just prepares you better for whatever situation. He’s just got a very high baseball IQ.”
Beaty echoed Roberts’ assessment of seeking the big moment and learning from others. “I think you just got to want to be in that situation,” he said.
“And then I talk a lot with some of the guys in the clubhouse about how they go about those situations, what their approach is and how they approach it. I’m just trying not to do too much, that’s kind of what I was doing up there.
“Obviously, it’s a different kind of at-bat but you just kind of take it as another at-bat and do what my plan is up there and drive the pitch.
Beaty electrified Dodger Stadium with his drive into the pavilion in right-center field, and the crowd remained on their feet until he emerged — with some nudging from teammates — for a curtain call.
“That was pretty cool,” Beaty said. “I’ve never gotten a curtain call. Tt was pretty cool, especially in front of this crowd. I saw J.T. motion me to come up there and I wasn’t really sure what was going on at first. But then I was like ‘Oh wow, this is pretty cool.'”