Having already expended Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez, the Los Angeles Dodgers were left to lean on Casey Sadler after Kenley Jansen blew his seventh save of the season. Although the San Diego Padres tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, they again trailed the following inning.
With his three high-leverage relief pitchers out of the equation, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called on Sadler for his first career MLB save opportunity. Sadler inherited a 6-4 lead and was tasked with facing the top of the Padres lineup.
He allowed a one-out single to Manny Machado but struck out Eric Hosmer — who hit a home run off Baez in the eighth inning — and retired Hunter Renfroe, a longtime Dodgers’ nemesis. Sadler let out a show of emotion when Corey Seager caught the pop-up for the final out of the game.
“It’s something you want. You want to be in those situations, whether it be in the ninth, eighth, seventh, whatever,” Sadler said.
“As a reliever you want to be in those situations where it’s game changing. I felt like I was prepared. It was a lot of fun, pretty emotional. It was great to get out there and finish it off for the guys, because they deserved it. They battled their butts off.
“That’s makes a championship team, is the next guy up is ready to go regardless of situation. One guy has an off night, the next guy steps up.”
Sadler also was inspired to pitch well in remembrance of the family of Tampa Bay Rays Minor League pitcher Blake Bivens. His wife, son and mother-in-law were tragically killed this week by Bivens’ brother-in-law.
— Casey Sadler (@sadler_squared) August 29, 2019
Any nerves Sadler may have had with the save opportunity were eased by having Russell Martin behind the plate. “I think it’s confidence in yourself and just going and executing pitches. I trust Russ with my life out there,” he said.
“We go back to Pittsburgh. He caught me a few times there and I really enjoy throwing to him. It was nice to see a familiar face back there. It made the transition a little easier.”
On the season, Sadler is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 games since being traded to the Dodgers.