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Dominant Dodgers Reliever Russell Martin Threw His First Career Strikeout

Photo: Norm Hal (Getty)

Some MLB managers might believe that, when the team is down 8-2 and the bullpen is drained, it’s time to give up and send out a position player to pitch. Not Dave Roberts, though. When he and his Dodgers found themselves in that exact situation at the tail end of their series against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, Roberts sent a top-notch bullpen guy into the still-winnable game: Russell Martin, who up to that point in the season was riding a 1.0 inning scoreless streak, and had faced his last three batters without surrendering a hit or walk.

Making the second mound appearance of his career, Martin delivered for his trusting manager. He painted a masterpiece of an eighth inning, forcing pop-outs from Caleb Joseph and Jarrod Dyson while sandwiching a devastating strikeout to Christian Walker in between. If Walker had struck out like this against a position player throwing in garbage time, I’d tell him to hang his head in despair. But there’s no shame in losing valiantly to one of the Dodgers’ best relief pitchers. Those 90 mph heaters high in the strike zone were simply untouchable.

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With this outing, Martin maintained his 0.00 ERA for his career. His FIP sits at an impressive 2.18. If they could only get his hitting to pick up—he’s sporting a .679 OPS right now—the Dodgers could have themselves a two-way monster.

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