Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep of the Oakland Athletics on Thursday led by a strong offensive performance while Julio Urías and Emmet Sheehan combined to pitch all nine innings.
Urías went five innings, giving up no runs on three hits with five strikeouts before his night came to an end as he was limited to 68 pitches following a cracked fingernail he’s been dealing with. Sheehan came on in relief and ended up pitching the final four innings.
The rookie did allow two home runs, but he still managed to earn the save and give the Dodgers bullpen extra rest before they head into an important series with the San Diego Padres on Friday.
“Not all the time does our calculus work out, but this was sort of the hope coming into tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about Sheehan pitching the final four innings.
“You’re going to have Evan (Phillips) and Joe (Kelly) with four days off, Brusdar (Graterol) with two or three days, Fergy (Caleb Ferguson) with three days off. Our guys will be ready to go for that series. It’s a four-game series, a big series.
“Also, just to keep Emmet built up. He’s been a starter, so to have him built up if something unforeseen happens and we need length, we can still go to him.”
The save was the first of Sheehan’s career, and it was also his first time pitching out of the bullpen. Sheehan’s stuff ticked up a bit coming out of the bullpen, but he only struck out three.
Although the Padres still trail the Dodgers by nine games in the National League West standings, L.A. is only up 2.5 games on the San Francisco Giants. San Diego is fighting for their playoff lives as they sit four games out of the third Wild Card spot.
The Padres have also been trending in the right direction and have a talented-roster that could end up making some noise if they get hot. In July, the club played their best baseball of the year, going 15-10 (.600) and have begun August by going 2-0.
Dave Roberts pleased with Dodgers’ focus
The Dodgers were coming off consecutive series losses at home to the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, along with an underwhelming trade deadline, when the A’s came into town.
There were multiple reasons for the Dodgers to get caught off guard against the worst team in baseball, but they made sure to play their best baseball following the challenging previous week.
“Obviously the answer is every game is hard to win, but I do believe a team that’s kind of rebuilding right now and players that don’t have much Major League service, these are games that we expect to win,” Roberts said.
“Not to take anything away from that ballclub, but when you’re running out guys that we’re running out there, playing to win a division, we’ve got to win games like this playing at home.”
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