For much of the 2010s, the Los Angeles Dodgers reaped the benefits of a consistently talented farm system. Clayton Kershaw was a carryover from the previous decade, while the likes of Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Walker Buehler all developed into All-Star caliber talent in recent years.
An additional set of promising prospects emerged during the 2019 season, ranging from the likes of Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Will Smith and Matt Beaty. Alex Verdugo also received a bigger workload after being included on the Opening Day roster.
As for Beaty, Smith and Verdugo in particular, they combined to make MLB history in June by becoming the first trio of rookies to hit a walk-off home run in consecutive games. The feat checks in at No. 5 in DodgerBlue.com’s best moments from the past decade list.
The unprecedented stretch began on June 21 in the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies. With the score evened up at two in the bottom of the ninth inning, right-hander Jairo Diaz quickly retired the first two batters faced.
Max Muncy then extended the frame with a two-out walk, paving the way for Beaty’s heroics. On a 1-0 pitch, he came through in the clutch with a walk-off home run over the center field wall, propelling the Dodgers to a 4-2 victory. Beaty finished the night with two hits in four at-bats, improving his batting average to an even .300 on the year.
A similar outcome played out in the Dodgers’ very next contest against the Rockies. With both teams knotted in a 4-4 deadlock, it was Verdugo’s turn to play the role of hero.
With one out in the bottom of the 11th, Verdugo turned on a 1-1 pitch from Jesus Tinoco, keeping it just inside the right field foul pole for the Dodgers’ second walk-off home run by a rookie in as many nights. It capped off an excellent night for the 23-year-old, who recorded a season-high four hits, three runs scored and two RBI in six at-bats.
Beaty and Verdugo made MLB history by becoming the first pair of rookies to hit a walk-off home run in consecutive games. Smith added to the record one day later in the Dodgers’ series finale against the Rockies.
With the score tied up at three, Smith sent a pitch from Scott Oberg over the right-center field wall for a walk-off three-run home run. The Dodgers not only extended their winning streak to six games, but also the MLB record with three consecutive walk-off home runs hit by a rookie.
The contributions of Beaty, Smith and Verdugo, along with several other youngsters, helped L.A. win a franchise-best 106 games during the regular season. Barring any trades before Opening Day, they all figure to play equally important roles on the club this season as well.
Top Dodgers moments of the previous decade
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