Still short on available starting pitchers, the Los Angeles Dodgers opted for another bullpen game in their series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Justin Bruihl made his second start as an opener and recorded five outs. He was followed by Mitch White, who provided much more length than anticipated with a career-high 7.1 scoreless innings.
The 26-year-old allowed only two hits, issued two walks and collected six strikeouts on an efficient 91 pitches. “For me, it’s not super important. I just kind of keep going and try to keep throwing through everything,” White said of his pitch count.
“It worked out well because the offense picked us up, and I was able to kind of extend and cover some innings.”
White’s effective outing not only helped the Dodgers earn a 9-0 victory and complete a sweep over the Pirates, it also gave the bullpen a much-needed breather.
He had his four-seam fastball working all night and felt confident throwing it early in the count. “It’s been focusing on command with it,” White said of the success he enjoyed when throwing his heater.
“Jamey Wright, our pitching coach in Triple-A, worked a lot with me on thinking 0-0 fastball versus 0-1 fastball. So basically ahead and behind, and when I’m really doing it right, the 0-0 fastball is in the zone early and often. And then I’m taking it a little bit off the plate and getting soft contact.”
Wednesday’s appearance against the Pirates marked just the 19th game in White’s MLB career. When asked if he’s ever pitched a better game, the right-hander gave a short and simple answer.
“Major League career? No. No,” White said.
Roberts enjoyed watching White ‘attack’
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered high praise for White after his performance and compared him to a seasoned veteran on the mound. “He was fantastic. This is something he’s going to remember for a long time,” Roberts said.
“We needed a big performance out of him, and he gave us that and plenty more. He just looked like a big league pitcher who was polished, in command, kept his poise, was efficient and attacked the strike zone with all of his pitches.
“I thought Will did a great job with him. Just really fun to see a young pitcher be in control like he was.”
With the Dodgers relying on another bullpen game Thursday in their series opener against the New York Mets, Roberts did not understate the importance of White logging 22 outs.
“It was great and much needed,” Roberts said of White giving the bullpen a break. “When you have smart players, they understand things that are going on around them.
“We have a bullpen game [Thursday], so Mitch was aware we needed bulk. And bulk doesn’t come in the way of three or four innings, so what he did was certainly very helpful.
“And I think for his growth and adding that layer of confidence to know he can go seven innings and throw shutout baseball against a Major League club, I think is going to be very big for him going forward.”
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