LOS ANGELES A long time ago, you could just catch Chris Taylor’s season at right angles and watch the Dodgers’ most valuable player, if not the entire National League.
A lot can change in a little more than a month. Since August 2, Taylor’s on-base plus slugging percentage has dropped nearly 100 points. He regularly bats at the sixth or seventh position in the batting order. As the bottom of the Dodgers lineup fell on hard times, Taylor’s bat was more part of the problem than the solution.
All the Dodgers needed on Friday was Taylor’s glove.
Taylor prevented Manny Machado from hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning by leaping into center field. In the fourth inning, Taylor dove into the left-central field gap to catch a Will Myers fly ball. In the bottom of the fourth, Taylor scored a run with a sacrificial fly, completing the scoring in a 3–0 win over the San Diego Padres.
A two home run by Max Munsey got the Dodgers on the board against Joe Musgrove in the third inning. Taylor’s best efforts helped combine Julio Ureas (17-3), Blake Trainen and Kenley Jensen in the Dodgers’ 16th shutout of the season.
The Dodgers (89–53) broke a two-game losing streak and kept pace with the first-placed San Francisco Giants (91–50), who took five games in a row to extend their lead in the National League West to 2½. live. Play
The Padres (74-66) have become a spectator in the picture of the playoffs. Since the All-Star break, they have lost four consecutive games to the Dodgers, after winning the last four one-on-one contests.
Uriahs became the first MLB pitcher to have 17 victories by limiting San Diego to three hits in seven innings. He hit two batsmen and issued a walk, dismissing seven. His IRA fell to 2.98.
On his 94th pitch of the evening, Ureas asked pinch hitter Tommy Pham to go to center field to end the seventh inning. It was the darkest urea in a game since July 21.
Muncie’s home run was his 32nd of the season, finishing third in the National League.
Jensen’s save was 10th in a row and his 31st overall, second in the NL.
The Dodgers collected only four hits in three of the Padres, but they made them count. Munsey pushed the 91-mph cutter into right field from 428 feet on the belt, just before Mookie Bates hit Musgrove.
In the fourth inning, Will Smith doubled and went to third base on a wild Musgrove pitch. Taylor’s quick delivery to the left was deep enough for Smith to tag along and score with relative ease.
Taylor’s 72 RBI is only behind Muncie and Justin Turner among team leaders this season.
There is much more to come on this story.