For the first time since taking the helm as Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts saw significant overturn to his coaching staff. Dino Ebel was among the new hires prior to the 2019 season, filling the void as third base coach.
The position was previously held by Chris Woodward, who was hired away to become manager of the Texas Rangers. Beyond his duties on the bases, Woodward was lauded for his work with the infielders and ability to connect with all players on the roster.
A former member of the Dodgers organization as a player and Minor League coach and manager, Ebel has quickly won over the clubhouse with his infectious energy and deft decision-making.
That was on full display in the eighth inning of Sunday’s win against the Chicago Cubs, when Ebel sent Chris Taylor home on a single into shallow left field.
To Ebel, the decision was rather simple despite Kris Bryant fielding the ball before Taylor rounded third base, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group
“I saw a little footwork action going and I just felt that where Kris was, he had to make a perfect throw,” Ebel said. “For me in that situation – one out, bottom of the eighth – I just felt right now is the time to be aggressive.
“Chris has got a great jump, good instincts … (Bryant) has to make a good throw. I can live with it (if Taylor were thrown out). He didn’t. We got the win.”
Taylor scoring the game-winning run excited Dodger Stadium but came at the expense of a face-plant, abrasion under his right eye and some embarrassment, via Beth Harris of the Associated Press:
“It was really smooth,” joked Taylor, who had a large red scratch near his right eye afterward. “I’m just glad I was able to touch the plate. It was embarrassing. My right arm sort of got stuck and I rolled onto my face.”
Taylor’s head-first dive was aided by Bryant’s throw getting by Willson Contreras and going to the backstop. Though, even if Contreras had fielded it on a hop, replay suggested his swipe to apply the tag would have been late or missed Taylor entirely.
The play was also a mulligan of sorts for Ebel. In the sixth inning, he held Taylor on a single to center field. Albert Almora Jr.’s throw from center field was up the first-base line. Taylor wound up being stranded as the Dodgers left the bases loaded and game tied.