LOS ANGELES — Down not one, but two former MVPs? Not a problem for the Dodgers.
The club was without Cody Bellinger (injured list, left calf contusion) and Mookie Betts (day to day, lower back), but that didn’t faze the team as Los Angeles used a five-run second inning to fuel a 9-5 win over the Nats on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are now 4-1 and 3-1 without Bellinger and Betts, respectively.
Before the game, manager Dave Roberts was asked how he thought the Dodgers’ offense would do without the pair for perhaps an extended period of time. He quickly pointed to the team’s depth, noting they had a lot of other really good players on the roster.
Two of the players the Dodgers will lean on the most if Bellinger and Betts miss an extended period of time, Chris Taylor and Zach McKinstry, each broke out his best impersonations of the former MVPs on Saturday.
McKinstry, starting in right field in place of Betts, gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the second with a two-run single off Nats starter Patrick Corbin. The 25-year-old rookie was the last position player to make the roster out of Spring Training, but he’s playing like a seasoned veteran in the first nine games of the season. He has seven RBIs, second on the team to Justin Turner’s nine.
After McKinstry got the Dodgers on the board, Taylor stepped up and delivered the early dagger. Back in center field on Saturday with Bellinger on the IL, Taylor capped off the five-run inning with a three-run bomb off Corbin. The blast had an exit velocity of 110.7 mph and traveled 429 feet, landing deep inside the Dodgers’ bullpen in left field.
But while McKinstry and Taylor certainly made an impact on Saturday, the rest of the Dodgers lineup did plenty to chip in as well. Turner added an RBI double in the fifth, extending his on-base streak to 39 games. AJ Pollock then put the game out of reach with a bases-clearing double in the seventh, giving the Dodgers a 9-3 lead. Seven of the eight starters recorded at least one hit on the night.
The Dodgers preach about having elite depth, and it was on full display on Saturday.