Dodgers Team News

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Reacts to ‘Best’ Start of MLB, Dodgers Career

Yoshinobu Yamamoto had his best start yet on Thursday against the Washington Nationals. He was only in trouble once and that was a near-death experience.

It was the right-hander’s third scoreless start in his past five but the first of those three to go past five innings. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven.

“So far up to this point, yes, that was the best,” Yamamoto said through his interpreter.

His catcher Austin Barnes agreed. He even felt a dominant outing early during warmups.

“I saw his fastball in the bullpen today and I thought it was going to be a good day,” Barnes said. “He came out today and was a little bit more crispy. I thought he executed it pretty well throughout the game and it was a big pitch for us in big situations.

“He was just going through me today. I don’t know if he was behind it better or all that stuff, but I thought whatever it was, it was really good.”

The close call came in the fifth inning when he got his glove up just in time to stop the 104.8 mph line drive off of Eddie Rosario’s bat that was headed for his face.

“He said he almost died,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Yamamoto’s answer when he went out to check on the pitcher. “So that was pretty funny.”

In the moment, Yamamoto laughed off the play. He didn’t let anyone know if he was scared until after the game.

“I just reacted,” Yamamoto said. “In a moment the ball was here and I was just catching it.”

Yamamoto worked ahead in the count and landed 70 of his 97 pitches for strikes. Five of seven strikeouts were looking.

“I thought he used his fastball effectively to both sides of the plate. It was commanded really well,” Roberts said. “He got ahead. He was getting ‘Strike 1’ a lot today, mixed in a lot of strikeouts.

“His breaking ball, curveball, was good. The split was good. And so for me, across the board, it was probably his best start he has had with us.”

Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Maren Angus

Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for Dodgers Nation and the LA Sports Report Network.

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