The Dodgers have become the first team in Major League Baseball history to hit three walk-off home runs three games in a row all by rookies. A walk-off is when the home team hits a home run in the bottom of the last inning, ending the game. Thus, the visiting team must “walk off” the field. The Dodgers swept the Colorado Rockies in all three games by three walk-offs.
On Friday, June 21, rookie Matt Beaty hit a two-run walk-off against the Colorado Rockies, winning the game 4-2. On Saturday, June 22, rookie Alex Verdugo hit a walk-off in the eleventh inning, helping the Dodgers win 5-4. On Sunday, June 23, catcher Will Smith hit a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game 6-3. Smith arrived earlier in the day from Oklahoma City as he was called up from the Minor League Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers. His first major league home run was a walk-off home run against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 1st.
For the first time in MLB history, the Dodgers have become the first team to achieve this feat with the help of rookies. The last time the Dodgers had three straight walk-offs was in 2010. “Just when you think it can’t get any better, it does,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said with ESPN. “We talk about these young players not being afraid of the moment. For Will to get a pitch in and carry it to the opposite part of the field is pretty impressive.” According to the Los Angeles Times, Smith has said, “Yeah, we were saying that’s a record that’s probably never going to be broken.”
During Sunday’s game, the controversy came up surrounding extended netting. In the first inning, Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger’s foul ball hit a woman in the head. She was sent to the hospital later for precautionary tests. Cody Bellinger has said that he is all for protective netting. Late on Monday, the Dodgers said they plan to extend the netting by the 2020 season. Also, during the game, in the ninth inning, a 14-year-old girl ran onto the field to hug Cody Bellinger. She gave him a hug but was quickly tackled and taken by security. When asked about the encounter, Bellinger told reporters that he told the girl that she was going to jail to pay a fine. The girl responded by saying, “It was worth it.”
Emory University student Justin Kim has said, “I think the three walk-offs show us that sports always have unexpected moments. Having two walk-offs by rookies seems like an unlikely coincidence but having three shows that you can never predict how a game will end.” It will be a while until this achievement can be repeated, and the Dodgers seem to be on a good path towards their third consecutive year competing in the World Series.
Jennie Kim, Grade 12
Immaculate Heart High School