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Comeback culminates in a walk-off grand slam by Muncy for Stone’s debut – Dodgers Digest

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When you really look at it, Gavin Stone didn’t pitch that much worse than Aaron Nola during his major league debut Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Stone was charged with a hit that really wasn’t his fault in the 1st and an error led to the Phillies first run of the day with the Dodgers forced to play from behind early. Nola wound up going 3 1/3 more innings as the Dodgers’ offense went pretty quiet after the 4th inning, but the two starters allowed the same total of earned runs.

Ultimately it wasn’t in the hands of either starter.

The Phillies’ bullpen struggled once again as the Dodgers scored a pair off Jose Alvarado who had allowed just six hits and one run in his 12 1/3 innings this season. Though Philadelphia tied it up in the 9th after the Dodgers completed the comeback, Craig Kimbrel loaded the bases and Max Muncy emptied them for the 10-6 win.

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The Dodgers’ defense decided to immediately test Stone in his debut, as Trea Turner‘s 71.4 mph flare to shallow right dropped in between Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and off the glove of Miguel Vargas.

A walk and an error by Muncy on a potential double play ball led to a sacrifice fly by Bryson Stott for the game’s first run, with Stone walking another before ending the inning on a ground out. All five balls put in play had a xBA under .230 and Stone still needed just 22 pitches to work around all of that drama.

Freeman doubled in the Dodgers’ half of the 1st, but a line out by Will Smith and a strikeout looking at a sinker for Muncy prevented Los Angeles from tying the game for Stone.

Bouncing back in the 2nd inning as his defense handled all the weak contact, Stone needed just 11 pitches to go ground out, fly out, and ground out. However, the Phillies started to jump on Stone’s three offerings their second time through the order.

A 6-hit 3rd inning brought home four runs for the Phillies as Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos came up with back-to-back doubles on a fastball and change respectively. Alec Bohm singled on a first-pitch slider, Stone’s fifth of the game, two batters later for the first of four consecutive singles. Two of those didn’t leave the infield, but nonetheless Stone needed 30 pitches to get out of the 3rd trailing 5-0.

Two singles and a hit by pitch led to the Dodgers’ first run of the game as Betts brought home David Peralta to cut the Phillies’ lead to 5-1 in the 3rd before they added two more against Nola in the 4th.

A one-out double to right for James Outman brought up Miguel Vargas with a runner in scoring position after his four-hit night on Tuesday. After a fly out went 368 feet in the 2nd inning, Vargas sent one 395 feet to center to further trim the lead down to 5-3.

Nola allowed a single to Peralta right after Vargas’ homer, but then retired nine consecutive batters before Chris Taylor dropped in a fastball at just 79.2 mph off the bat for a triple as Castellanos over ran the ball.

With Nola done after 7 1/3 innings, the Dodgers put the tying runner on base as Betts walked on four pitches against Seranthony Domínguez. Dominguez started 0-2 to Freeman with a pair of sliders, but three straight missed low and pushed the count full against Freeman. Finally throwing a sinker, Dominguez just missed giving up the lead as Freeman sent the ball 361 feet to the wall for sac fly.

Now leading 5-4 with six outs remaining, the Phillies sent Jose Alvarado in for the 8th with his 0.73 ERA and -0.01 xFIP. Naturally, Miguel Rojas hit for Jason Heyward and sent a cutter to left with James Outman doubling on a sinker one pitch later to put two in scoring position. A fielder’s choice by Vargas led to an out at the plate, with Austin Barnes up to hit for Peralta as the last chance in the inning.

And somehow the .085/.185/.085/.270 hitter connected on a 1-2 sinker to left for a 6-5 lead as Vargas had taken second base during the at-bat.

This could have been where I pointed out the Dodgers’ bullpen closed out the game with 5 scoreless inning. Alas, Brusdar Graterol could only get it to 4 2/3 innings. A two-out single by Harper, a walk to Castellanos after getting ahead 1-2 and an 0-2 single for Stott evened the game at 6-6.

Thankfully that just set up the Dodgers for an even more entertaining ending.

Old friend Kimbrel entered for the Phillies in the 9th, allowing a single to Taylor who stole second base on the first pitch of Betts’ at-bat. Three straight balls and then two straight strikes looking sent Betts back to the dugout, but an intentional walk of Freeman and a walk to Smith loaded the bases for Muncy with one out.

And after watching Kimbrel throw four straight fastballs to Betts and five to Smith, Muncy only needed one.

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Finishing his debut with 77 pitches (47 strikes) in 4 innings, Stone allowed eight hits, two walks and five runs (four earned) with one strikeout.

That included 6 misses on 37 swings, with 3-of-4 on the slider, 1-of-16 on the fastball and 2-of-17 on the changeup. All three of the misses on the slider came against Castellanos, who missed on a first pitch slider in the 3rd and then twice on his strikeout in the 4th inning.

Both misses on the change were in Harper’s second at-bat of the game in the 3rd inning to fall behind 1-2. A miss high evened the count 2-2 and Stone decided to go back to the fastball rather than a fourth changeup and paid for it the high location over the plate. That ended Stone’s run of four consecutive outs and began the stretch of six hits allowed in seven batters.

Stone’s velocity predictably came down a bit after the first two innings, with the fastball pretty steadily at 94 mph before dropping down to a lot more 92 mph pitches. The changeup sat 86/87 before looking more 83/84, with the slider going from around 86 mph to 84.

I’ll leave it to the others to dive deeper into Stone’s debut in the coming days, but obviously it would look much different if he doesn’t need an additional work in the opening inning and had been able to put Harper away, though the second ask there is easier said than done. He did need just 11 pitches in the 2nd and 15 in the 4th, with just a single by Harper in those two innings.

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Victor Gonzalez continued to look much better than he has in a few years, striking out two batters in his 1 2/3 innings of work with his lone base runner coming on a hit by pitch that was erased by a double play in the 5th. Yency Almonte entered with two down in the 6th and needed four pitches to get Turner looking at a sweeper.

Almonte walked one in the 7th, but otherwise had a pretty easy outing as he finished at 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts, including seven misses on 13 swings with five on six swings against the sweeper.

Caleb Ferguson took over for the 8th and threw nine pitches, all for strikes, in his 1-2-3 inning. Ferguson retired one more to open the 9th before Graterol took over against Turner and Harper. You already know how that turned out, but hey he got the win.

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The Dodgers (19-13) are off on Thursday ahead of their first of 13 meetings against the San Diego Padres (17-15) this season. Clayton Kershaw will start for Los Angeles against Joe Musgrove with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT from Petco Park on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.



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