Los Angeles— L.A. Lakers star LeBron James was in the house on Saturday night to watch the rubber match between the Marlins and Dodgers on his bobblehead night. Unfortunately for the Marlins, he and 52,688 Dodger fans went home happy as Mookie Betts put on a show to help LA take the ballgame and series from Miami.
Marlins score first
Just like they did in Game one, Miami struck first on the scoreboard. With two out in the top of the first, Josh Bell crushed his 17th home run of the year halfway up the bleachers in left. It was his sixth homer as a Marlin which tied him with Moises Alou and Derrek Lee for second most HR in their first 17 games with the team. Bell’s are the most for a Marlin whose fist 17 games came outside of April. according to Sarah Langs.
“I’ve known Bell throughout the years, playing and coaching against him for a while and this guy’s a real bat. Real power potential that we’re lucky to have,” Skip Schumaker shared on his first baseman.
Braxton vs. Mookie
Left-hander Braxton Garrett was on the bump for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, making his first career start against the Dodgers. “It was awesome, I love Dodger Stadium. Pretty cool that LeBron was here too,” said Garrett.
Garrett would have to contend with a potent Dodger lineup featuring Mookie Betts who last faced the Marlins in August of 2022, when he went 8-for-15 with four homers in a four-game set in Miami. After delivering the decisive two-run single in Game one of the doubleheader, he decided to flex his muscles in Game 2.
In the bottom of the third, Betts slammed an up-and-in pitch over the left field wall for his 33rd long ball of the year.
When asked postgame if he located that pitch to Mookie where he wanted, Brax said “I did, yeah. But again, 2-1 count, fastball anywhere in the zone to that guy is probably not the best bet. We take something else—we’ll take a walk or a single next time—but we learned from it and Mel (Stottlemyre Jr.) gave me constructive criticism about it afterwards.”
Two innings later, Betts did it again, this time on a middle-away pitch. That homer extended LA’s lead to 3-1, which wound up being the final score. After each home run, he saluted to fellow LA star LeBron James who was sitting in the club suites down the first base line.
While Ronald Acuña Jr is the favorite for the National League MVP award, Betts is making a case for himself as he’s tied for the league lead in wRC+ at 165. He also adds incredible defense in right, second, and short. (He can also bowl a perfect game, dunk on a ten-foot rim and throw spirals, but I digress.)
The dangers of shagging
Skip revealed to the media that Miami almost had to do a bullpen day for this game as Braxton Garrett fell down during batting practice on Friday. “That’s the reason we had (Bryan) Hoeing and (George) Soriano down because it might have been a bullpen game today. He was checked out and recovered and really manned up and stepped up for us.”
Brax added: “I was nonchalantly trying to catch a ball behind my back and sort of fell. I got an MRI last night, got the results this morning and nothing was there so my head was spinning. Then I spoke with (Marlins head athletic trainer) Lee (Meyer) this morning and we threw and I felt fine. Kind of a freak thing, but we got through it.”
Miami dropped the game and series to the Dodgers, falling to 64-61 on the year. Braxton received the loss while Julio Urías earned his 11th win of the season. This was just the 16th time in franchise history that the Marlins were swept in a doubleheader.
“You don’t want to come in losing both games in a doubleheader. Especially the way we lost that first one kind of stung. Proud of the guys with how they came back, we just didn’t score enough runs. With that offense over there, we had to match them and our pitching did a really good job. There’s not too many moral victories at this point in the season, but I will say that I’m proud of these guys” added Skip.
Miami has an off-day on Sunday due to the scheduling change and will begin a three-game set in San Diego on Monday.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images