Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped their rubber match against the New York Yankees on Sunday by a despite another strong start turned in by Bobby Miller.
The rookie right-hander pitched six shutout innings, but the Dodgers offense was unable to muster any runs to support him. Once Miller was out of the game, the Yankees lineup took advantage.
In the seventh, they put runners on second and third after two singles and an error from Brusdar Graterol. Then with the infield in, Graterol got Kyle Higashioka to hit a ground ball to Chris Taylor at shortstop, who opted to record the out at first rather than go for a play at home plate, which gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
A similar scenario happened in the eighth inning when Oswaldo Cabrera grounded out to Miguel Vargas with runners on second and third and the infield again playing in. Vargas also decided to record the out at first, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
“I looked at the video, and he had such a good jump off the ball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about Taylor’s decision. “It was a jam-shot, slow roller, and after looking at it, I don’t think he had a chance.
“The same thing with Vargas. That ball off Cabrera’s bat, (Anthony) Rizzo had a good jump. It was just hit so softly. We had the infield in, but I don’t think you could’ve placed those balls any better.”
Although Vargas might have had the better opportunity to record the out, Roberts recognized it would have been a tough play to make. “He might’ve had a chance if he barehanded it,” the skipper said.
“But again, that’s one of those things where you still have two at-bats left. If you can keep them at one run, you’ve got a shot. Honestly, I thought he made the right play.”
Will Smith, who was behind the plate during both plays, also agreed with Roberts that both infielders made the correct decision to record the sure out, rather than risk a big inning.
“Both of those balls were really hard plays,” Smith said. “Think definitely the Vargy one, we don’t get him at home. You’ve got to get an out there. Credit to them. They moved the ball in those situations.”
The Yankees added two insurance runs on a home run in the ninth inning that pushed the game out of reach, but ultimately the Dodgers’ offense was the reason for their loss and not the defense.
Dodgers, Yankees impressed by Aaron Judge’s catch
During the second game of the series, Aaron Judge blasted a home run off Shelby Miller to start the sixth inning. Then in the eighth, the reigning American League MVP took a hit away from J.D. Martinez by making a spectacular running catch in deep right field.
Judge’s momentum carried him into the bullpen gate, which busted open with the impact.
“Man, what a play,” Roberts said. “J.D. had a fastball that was at the top of the zone, and he blocked it the other way and hit it well. I thought it was a sure double, but Judge made a heck of a play out there.”
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