Gavin Lux was the last of the eight players to make their MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, but he arrived with the most fanfare. A record-setting first game gave way to a modest start to his career.
After the Dodgers faced a string of right-handed starters, which had Lux in the lineup for six consecutive games, the organization’s top prospect was penciled to get a night off Tuesday. However, lingering ankle soreness led to Justin Turner being scratched and replaced by Chris Taylor, which in turn moved Lux into the lineup.
He struck out in his first at-bat of the game before snapping an 0-for-13 skid with a single the next time up. Lux later hit a home run — the first of his career — and went on to finish a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
The performance was all the more memorable in that it ended with the Dodgers celebrating a seventh consecutive National League West title. It was a scenario Lux admitted he would not have predicted during the summer months, per Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“If you would have told me two or three months ago that I’d be a part of a clinching team, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Lux said. “Just to be here and be a part of a special group of guys is special. Kind of indescribable.”
While Lux impressed with Double-A Tulsa and onto that after earning a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, his call-up largely stemmed from Max Muncy sustaining a right wrist fracture. The injury created an opportunity at second base, where Lux has worked to become a steady player.
The 21-year-old approached the Dodgers earlier this season and requested more playing time at second, which he received while with Oklahoma City. Prior to the Dodgers calling up their top prospect, manager Dave Roberts expressed confidence in Lux’s ability to play second base.
With an NL West title secured, the Dodgers will continue their chase for the best overall record. They are on track to finish atop the NL standings but trail the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
For Lux, the remaining three weeks will continue to serve as an audition to be included on the postseason roster. Much like what Matt Beaty, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May are facing.