Dodgers News: James Paxton Mindful Of Correcting Walks

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The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants on Monday in an 8-3 win, much in part to a strong start from James Paxton, who made his regular season debut.

The 35-year-old didn’t have his best stuff but found a way to throw five shutout innings, tallying five strikeouts, walking five batters, but still, earning the win.

“I felt good but wasn’t really sharp,” Paxton said. “The five walks, I was kind of in and out of rhythm, but Will (Smith) did a great job back there. I made pitches when we had to.”

Heading into the outing, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted Paxton was built up to go six innings and throw 90 pitches. The team was hoping to get some length out of the veteran, but walks made that challenging.

“That got the pitch count up a little faster than I would have liked,” Paxton acknowledged. “I’m going to work on getting some things zeroed in so I don’t have that issue going forward.”

Monday’s start marked just his third of true game action since the beginning of Spring Training.

“I’ve done that before, so it’s not really a big deal. I’ve done the backfield thing before, so I don’t think that’s a big part of it,” Paxton said. “It’s just finding my rhythm and getting comfortable out there again.”

The Dodgers have received solid work from their starting rotation in their first true run through the pitching order, with Will Smith echoing that Paxton had a solid debut.

“Just getting to know him,” Smith said. “I caught him three or four times this spring, and obviously this was the first time in a regular season game so still getting to know each other a little bit. But we’re clicking. That was a good first start.”

How important is James Paxton to Dodgers rotation?

The Dodgers lacked a veteran arm that stayed in the rotation for the duration of the 2023 season, and asking that of Paxton would be a steep order considering his recent run of health.

His job as a backend arm is needed, mainly because of how many players a team relies on to navigate an entire regular season schedule. Paxton may not possess the upside of a front-end guy, but his worth is in staying available.

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