The Dodgers did it again. Russell Martin did it yet again. With 2 on, and 2 out in the bottom of the 9th inning and facing a 1-0 defeat, Martin delivered a game winning base hit, driving in both runs, and giving the Dodgers a sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals.
A SWEEP ENDING. pic.twitter.com/EfwzUuxhvd
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 7, 2019
The walk-off was the Dodgers’ 10th this season, which is the most in baseball. Dodger Insider Rowan Kavner puts it the team’s dominance at home into more perspective.
The Dodgers are 46-15 at home. Ten of those 61 games are walk-off wins.
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) August 7, 2019
After the game, Russell Martin spoke with Alanna Rizzo about the late game heroics, and the momentum shift in the middle of the at-bat.
I never felt so good about a lousy ground ball, that one felt pretty good.
My thoughts were different when it was first and second, and then he threw a wild pitch, and third and second, and then I realized all I needed was just to make contact, and I found a hole, it felt really good.
All the young guys have been having fun, hitting walk-offs, let the old guys have some fun too, you know.
Martin also touched on the pitching duel between Los Angeles rookie Dustin May and Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals.
Both pitchers, they pitched a heck of a game, on both sides, May was just attacking the zone, using that really nasty sinker he has, moving it around the zone, mixing in that little cutter, and some curveballs in there. Didn’t really get a chance to use his changeup too much, he’s got a changeup also, but he was so good with the other pitches, he didn’t have to use that.
On the other side, he just, same thing, just attacking early, getting ahead of hitters, and we really had a hard time squaring him up, but we waited until the last minute, and it worked out for us.
The 36 year-old added what it feels like being able to contribute later in his career.
It feels great, I feel like I haven’t really produced that much offensively this year, so when you get to chip in a little bit, it makes it all worthwhile.
With a .219 batting average and OPS sitting at .662 on the season, Martin’s value is in veteran leadership more than his bat here in August. Moreover, his versatility has been put on display more often later in the season. Already having tossed 2 scoreless innings of relief in 2019, he’s been seeing more time in the infield as the season has progressed.
Russell Martin: 36 year-old Super Utility player.
The Dodgers moved to a MLB best 77-40 on the season, and will be back at it on Friday night against Arizona at Dodger Stadium.
Way Back Wednesday
One last note on Martin’s heroics comes from Statcast guru Andrew Simon.
Russell Martin had a walk-off BB for the Dodgers in 2009 and a walk-off sac fly in '08.
But Martin's last Dodgers walk-off *hit* came against Shawn Chacon (!) of the Pirates on April 21, 2007.
It was a grand slam that scored Juan Pierre, Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez.
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) August 7, 2019