LA Longballs: Muncy, Bellinger, Russell HR, Dodgers beat Rox
“Everyone’s feeling good,” he said.
That’s deep enough.
After hitting a franchise-record 235 home runs last year, the NL champion Dodgers have connected a whopping 21 times in only eight games this season. They’ve homered in every game so far.
What’s more, the 21 homers through their opening eight games are the second-most in major league history behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who had 23 in 2000.
“We have a talented lineup,” Muncy said. “We’re very deep. On top of that, we’re all up there and having fun.”
Bellinger hit his sixth of the year, breaking the game open with a three-run drive in the fifth. To think, he didn’t hit his sixth homer last season until game No. 41.
“I’m just feeling good and trying to keep it going,” Bellinger said.
Muncy finished a double shy of a cycle, walking in the ninth. He can’t remember the last time he ever accomplished the feat.
“That would’ve been pretty cool,” Muncy said.
Trevor Story homered twice for the Rockies.
Kenta Maeda (2-0) threw five efficient innings and cruised through a scuffling Colorado lineup. He allowed four hits and his only run on Nolan Arenado’s sacrifice fly.
Maeda’s biggest pitch was a slider in the fifth that Trevor Story took for a called third strike with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Rockies were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position against Maeda. His secret was simple: “Have a strong heart,” Maeda said through a translator.
A slow-working Tyler Anderson (0-2) couldn’t find his groove in allowing six runs over four innings. Both homers he surrendered were on fastballs. The left-hander is coming off a season in which he gave up 30 homers, tied for the most in the NL.
“They have some guys that are really hot and they stayed hot,” Anderson said. “I think really the one that turns it from a day that you’re grinding through into a bad day is that Bellinger homer. That was a pretty good pitch that usually in the past he hasn’t gotten to that pitch. But he’s pretty locked in right now.”
Bellinger’s drive off Anderson gave him 16 RBIs. In contrast, the Rockies have 22 RBIs as a team.
This was the first of 19 games between two teams that needed a tiebreaker last season to decide the NL West crown before the Dodgers prevailed. It’s a burgeoning rivalry in the eyes of the Rockies, but not so much to Los Angeles.
“They’re a good club that I have a lot of respect for,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But geography plays into a rivalry.”
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (strained left knee) will throw a 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday. … Roberts said he was leaning toward LHP Clayton Kershaw (shoulder inflammation) making another rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Kershaw gave up two runs and struck out six over 4 1/3 innings in a rehab stint Thursday.
In the ninth, righty Joe Kelly came out of the game after being hit by a comebacker that deflected off his glove and caught him in the right wrist. The X-rays on the wrist were negative.
“He’ll pick up a baseball tomorrow and see how it feels,” Roberts said.
The Rockies have now dropped three of their last four home openers. The announced attendance was 48,404.
“(The fans) brought it today and we really didn’t,” Story said.
Roberts won’t hesitate to use closer Kenley Jansen while in Denver’s higher altitude. Jansen had surgery in the offseason to address an irregular heartbeat that surfaced again while in Colorado for a series in August. He didn’t travel with the team back to Colorado in September as a precaution.
“We feel the heart thing, we have it at bay with the surgery,” Roberts explained.
The Rockies announced late in the game they agreed on a minor league contract with LHP Jorge De La Rosa, who turned 38 on Friday.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (0-0, 15.00 ERA) looks to bounce back Saturday against Colorado after a rough opening outing.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 4.05) is 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA in 11 starts against the Dodgers.