Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were confident Noah Syndergaard could make a normal start after his last outing was cut short due to a right index finger blister/cut, but they still took precaution and Phil Bickford wound up being needed to shoulder a heavy load in their 9-8 walk-off win over the Minnesota Twins in 12 innings.
At the time Syndergaard was removed to begin the fifth, the Dodgers held a 5-2 lead. Five relief pitchers were used before the Dodgers turned to Bickford for extra innings.
Bickford picked up his first win of the season after allowing one unearned run over three innings on a career-high 48 pitches. “It made me very happy,” he said of reaction from his teammates in the clubhouse after the win.
“This team is super cool, we’ve all got each other’s backs. It just made it that much more neat to be in an opportunity like that and come out on the winning side. It was super cool.”
With the Dodgers hoping to avoid using Brusdar Graterol and Victor González, Bickford knew he was being leaned on to provide length. “I was aware of it while coming back into the dugout,” Bickford said.
“I was obviously hoping for a walk-off win, and when it didn’t happen, I just locked it in and wanted to do everything I could to give the team another chance.”
Bickford, who prior to the series opener had never completed three innings in an MLB game, pushed through to give the Dodgers an opportunity to win. “In a moment like that, also being aware of how many guys out of the bullpen have thrown already, you’re kind of getting a little bit prepared for that in the back of your head,” he said.
“Just seeing how the game unravels, you’ve got to be up for the challenge because winning is really fun.”
Dave Roberts credits Phil Bickford for saving Dodgers bullpen
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered high praise for Bickford after the game. “I can’t say enough about Phil. That’s as good of an outing from him as you’ll ever see,” Roberts said.
“Everyone in that room knows that he really cares. He cares more about being a good teammate than being a good baseball player, truth be told. He left it all out there, and we needed every bit of it. To go toe-to-toe with (Jhoan) Duran and (Jorge) López is pretty impressive. Very, very proud of Phil.”
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