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Tyler Glasnow dominates and Max Muncy hits three home runs in Dodgers’ blowout win

In Sports
May 05, 2024
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA-May 4, 2024- Dodgers Max Muncy round the bases after hitting.

As much as it pained Kyle Snyder to see Tyler Glasnow traded from Tampa Bay to the Dodgers last December, the Rays pitching coach predicted the move would benefit the 6-foot-8 right-hander from Santa Clarita.

“I genuinely think his best days are in front of him,” Snyder said in February. “He’s healthy. The injury that surfaced in 2019 was ultimately taken care of [with Tommy John surgery] in 2021. I would expect him to have his best years in the near-term and be as good a starter as there is in the National League, for certain.”

The new Dodgers ace has made his old coach look prophetic, Glasnow delivering his third straight dominant start — this one a seven-inning, two-run, five-hit, 10-strikeout, one-walk effort — in an 11-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in front of 44,474 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night.

Max Muncy provided most of the power in a 16-hit attack with his first career three-homer game — a two-run shot in the second inning and solo shots in the seventh and eighth innings — and the first by a Dodgers player since Trayce Thompson hit three homers against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 1, 2023.

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Glasnow’s third 10-whiff game in eight starts pushed the Dodgers toward their 10th win in 12 games, a stretch in which their starting pitchers have given up only 16 earned runs over 68⅔ innings for a 2.10 ERA.

“It’s fun to watch, it really is,” manager Dave Roberts said. “You see the energy on the bench, the intensity on the field, and in the batter’s box, you see the focus. Then to put all that with a lot of talent, it’s winning baseball.”

Glasnow improved to 7-1 with a 2.70 ERA on the season and has given up only two earned runs and 14 hits in 21 innings, striking out 29 and walking four, in his last three starts — wins over the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and Braves. He threw 61 of his 96 pitches for strikes and induced 11 swinging strikes and 12 called strikes.

“He continues to pick us up and be that top-end guy we expect him to be,” Roberts said. “For him to attack the zone and be efficient and get through that seventh inning was huge. He was on the attack all night long against a very good-hitting ballclub.”

Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers during the Dodgers' 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers during the Dodgers’ 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Glasnow retired the first nine batters — three by strikeout — in the first three innings, dotting a knee-high, 98-mph fastball on the inside corner to whiff Travis d’Arnaud looking to end the second and dropping an 85-mph curve on the inside corner to whiff Jarred Kelenic looking to end the third.

Glasnow gave up his second run in the seventh when d’Arnaud led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on Orlando Arcia’s groundout.

“Honestly, it was probably after the fourth inning or so that I felt pretty good,” said Glasnow, who leads the major leagues in strikeouts (63) and innings (50). “The velocity and stuff was there when I wanted it to be later in the at-bats. And as the game kept going, I just kept feeling better and better.”

The offense provided Glasnow plenty of cushion, with Muncy hitting a two-run homer off Braves starter Bryce Elder 412 feet to center field for a 2-0 lead in the second and Shohei Ohtani hitting a solo homer to right — his eighth of the season to pass Roberts for the franchise lead in homers by a Japanese-born player — for a 3-0 lead in the third.

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Andy Pages sparked a four-run fourth with a leadoff homer to left-center, giving the rookie outfielder four homers in 16 games since his mid-April promotion to the big leagues and extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Dodgers continued to bat around in the fourth, Ohtani slapping an opposite-field RBI single to left for a 5-1 lead and RBI singles by Freddie Freeman and Will Smith pushing the lead to 7-1.

Muncy sparked a three-run seventh with a 404-foot leadoff homer to right field off left-hander Tyler Matzek, and he sent his eighth homer of the season 371 feet to left-center off right-hander Jackson Stephens in the eighth, giving him eight homers on the season.

“It was a really cool moment for me, first time I’ve ever done that,” Muncy said of his three-homer game. “I’ve felt good at the plate the last couple weeks. I know the results aren’t always there, but I feel like I’ve put together some decent at-bats. Sometimes you get tough pitches. Tonight I was able to get the barrel to the ball a little bit better.”

Muncy’s third homer barely cleared the wall, but Roberts thought the opposite-field shot was telling for the left-handed-hitting slugger.

“We haven’t seen that backside home run in a long time,” said Roberts, whose Dodgers have outscored opponents 78-24 in the last 12 games. “When you can go the other way, you’re spinning the baseball the right way, and it carries out of the ballpark versus a swing that’s cutting it. So his swing is in a really good spot. … I think he’s just getting back to being a better hitter and not just a one-dimensional slugger.”

Roberts said reliever Blake Treinen, whose return from shoulder surgery was delayed by an early March line drive that fractured several of the veteran right-hander’s ribs, probably will be activated for Sunday’s series finale against the Braves.

Treinen, who sat out most of the 2022 and 2023 seasons because of shoulder injuries, completed a five-game minor league rehabilitation stint with scoreless innings for triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

He went 6-5 with a 1.99 ERA in 72 games of his last full season in 2021, striking out 85 and walking 25 in 72 ⅓ innings as closer Kenley Jansen’s setup man.

Most relievers would be eased into a higher-leverage role after sitting out so much time, but Roberts said he won’t hesitate using Treinen, 35, to hold narrow leads or keep a score tied in the later innings.

“I think for me … I don’t want to just kind of leave it in a situation where we’ve got to ease him in,” Roberts said. “I think a softer landing would be nice, but if the game calls for a leverage situation, I’ve got no problem going to him.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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