Dodgers get two big reminders of what a mega-trade with Nationals costs in 8-3 loss

The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts hits a leadoff house run in the primary inning as Washington Nationals pitcher Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz, each former Dodgers prospects, watch on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, the über prospects the Dodgers traded a 12 months in the past to accumulate Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, have been the Washington Nationals’ battery Tuesday evening.

Watching them toil for the last-place Nationals in an 8-3 win over the Dodgers, the questions have been apparent though the solutions will not be. At least not but.

Which staff gained the deal? Or was it a wash?

At the time, it seemed like a steal for the Dodgers. But they did not attain the World Series and Scherzer did not re-sign. Turner, a free agent after this season, is enjoying on the degree of a most dear participant, however would not the Dodgers have to win the World Series for the commerce to be value giving up arguably their high two prospects?

Gray, a beginning pitcher with electrical stuff, strikes out greater than a batter per inning and provides up lower than a hit per inning. Ruiz, a switch-hitting catcher, is stable defensively and makes contact at a excessive price from either side of the plate. Both are beneath staff management till 2028, cornerstones of the Nationals’ rebuilding plan.

Yet they’ve a vital blemish: Gray offers up too many house runs. Ruiz would not hit sufficient of them.

Gray has hit a staggering 42 house runs in 167-2/3 profession innings. Mookie Betts greeted him with a 404-foot blast to heart discipline in the primary inning Tuesday — the 14th time in 18 begins this season Gray has surrendered a house run — and Cody Bellinger hit a hovering drive to proper on the primary pitch of the fifth inning

Betts thwarted a Nationals scoring risk in the fifth when he threw out Victor Robles on the plate on Josh Bell’s two-out single, however the protection damage the Dodgers in the eighth.

The inning started with second baseman Gavin Lux making a throwing error, and Luis García homered towards reliever Garrett Cleavinger on an 0-and-2 pitch with two outs to provide Washington a 4-3 lead.

“I left it up a bit,” Cleavinger stated. “Hung it in a dangerous spot.” Referring to Lux’s mistake, Cleavinger stated, “It occurs to everyone. We’re all human. The subsequent 100 instances he’ll make that play.”

Cleavinger was referred to as up from triple A earlier than the sport to provide what supervisor Dave Roberts referred to as “a recent arm.” Roberts stayed with him in the ninth as a result of he needed to provide a number of different relievers the evening off, and the Nationals scored 4 insurance coverage runs.

Ruiz, who’s batting .249, drove in one of these runs with a single. However, he has solely three house runs in 310 plate appearances. He would not strike out a lot however too usually makes weak contact on pitches out of the strike zone.

Dodgers' Mookie Betts blows a kiss toward the crowd as Washington Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz watches.

Dodgers’ Mookie Betts blows a kiss towards the group after hitting a solo house run as Washington Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz watches in the course of the first inning on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Regardless of their longball shortcomings, Roberts holds Ruiz and Gray in excessive regard.

On Gray: “I like Josiah a lot. What stands out is the fastball; it is a distinctive fastball. It’s a low arm slot, there’s rise and there’s a slider in there. He’s been excellent towards right-handed hitters and had a harder time towards left-handed hitters.”

On Ruiz: “Keibert goes to be a actually good participant for a very long time. The predominant factor for him is to tackle the catching duties and get acquainted with the pitchers. There has by no means been a lot of energy however he has elite bat-to-ball expertise from either side of the plate.”

The Dodgers and Nationals would possibly work one other mega-trade forward of this 12 months’s Aug. 2 commerce deadline. Washington is contemplating affords for celebrity Juan Soto and the Dodgers have the engaging younger gamers to swing a deal.

If that ought to happen, the Dodgers should win one other World Series or three earlier than Soto might turn out to be a free agent after the 2024 season. And the Nationals should efficiently rebuild across the plethora of prospects.

Anything much less from both staff, and winner and loser needs to be straightforward to find out.

Dodgers change tune on Taylor

Several weeks in the past, Roberts made it clear that priceless utility man Chris Taylor would solely play outfield the remainder of the season as a result of of issues about his proper elbow, which was surgically repaired in the course of the offseason.

Then Taylor went on the injured checklist July 5 with a fractured foot, and now’s about to go on a minor league rehab project.

Will he play solely outfield or will he combine in some second base? Have the Dodgers modified their stance?

“We have in the sense that a lot of it was pushed by the elbow and giving it time to heal up,” stated Roberts. “We simply really feel like he can deal with the completely different arm angles from the infield and outfield, so having him taking grounders in the infield offers us extra choices.

“I simply do not suppose there’s a lot of draw back so far as having Chris getting re-familiarized with second base.”

And if the Dodgers purchase Juan Soto on the commerce deadline, Taylor wouldn’t have an outfield spot. Reminded of that risk, Roberts laughed and stated, “That’s proper, that is proper.”

Heaney to provide it one other go

Left-hander Andrew Heaney will make his fourth begin of the season and first since June 19 when he takes the mound towards the Nationals on Wednesday

Heaney made two extremely efficient begins initially of the season earlier than lacking two months with a sore left shoulder. His return lasted just one begin, when once more he was dominant but reinjured the shoulder.

In 15-1/3 innings over three begins, he is given up one run whereas placing out 23. His ERA is 0.59.

Roberts stated Heaney could be restricted to about 75 pitches Wednesday. Heaney has made solely two appearances towards the Nationals in his nine-year profession, giving up 4 runs in seven innings.

This story initially appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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