Mookie Betts didn’t plan on playing Thursday. One game, a doubleheader. It didn’t matter. The Dodgers star right fielder left Oracle Park on Wednesday intending to protest racial injustice and police brutality by sitting out again. And the first lineup the Dodgers released for Game 1 of their doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants reflected those feelings. Betts’ name wasn’t listed.
But Betts told Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Thursday morning that he had changed his mind. He wanted to play after igniting the Dodgers and Giants’ collective decision to have Wednesday’s game postponed, creating the first scheduled seven-inning doubleheader in franchise history.
The decision, according to Roberts, came after Betts spoke to Black players around the league. Betts determined he could better use his platform by playing. So, Roberts changed the lineup for his best player. Betts batted first and played right field.
His impact on the Dodgers’ 7-0 win was immediate. Betts led the game off with a walk and scored the first run on Cody Bellinger’s RBI groundout. Betts singled in the sixth inning for his 1,000th career hit. In between, the Dodgers (23-9) posted four runs in the fourth inning, fueled by catcher Austin Barnes’ two-run double, to give Kershaw ample room to operate.
The left-hander needed 86 pitches to toss six scoreless innings — one shy of recording his first complete game since 2017. He held the Giants (15-17) to four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. His earned run average plunged to 1.80.
Josh Sborz relieved Kershaw to close the win in the seventh inning after AJ Pollock slugged a two-run home run for the game’s final runs.
Walker Buehler was scheduled to start the second game Thursday, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a blister on his right hand in the morning. Caleb Ferguson will start Game 2. In addition, the Dodgers added Gavin Lux to their roster for the game.
Gavin Lux will start at second base in the second game. It’ll be his season debut. pic.twitter.com/iJRY4TucUf
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