Dodgers rookie infielder Michael Busch has found himself in a weird spot this season.
After being called up when Max Muncy went on the paternity list — and starting three consecutive games — the Dodgers seemed to have forgotten about him.
Busch was expected to head back down to Triple-A following Muncy’s return, but an IL stint for J.D. Martinez has kept him with the club a little longer. However, he hasn’t seen much playing time.
Busch has been keeping the bench warm for the Dodgers, making many — including myself — wonder why he’s still with the team. At 25 years old, Busch would benefit much more from consistent playing time, not just riding the bench with a major league club.
However, on Sunday night, he made the most of his limited opportunity.
Busch entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning, replacing Miguel Rojas. In that at-bat, he struck out looking.
Busch got another opportunity in the 10th inning, though, thanks to Mookie Betts’ game-tying home run off Josh Hader in the 9th. And in the 10th, Busch came through.
With two outs and a runner on third base in a 2-2 ballgame, it was all on Busch to put the Dodgers ahead. On a 3-2 count, Busch cranked an RBI single to left center field, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. The next batter was another rookie, James Outman, and he smoked a two-run home run to right field, ultimately putting the game away.
After the game, Busch was asked about his first game-winning hit at the MLB level (per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times).
“There’s nothing like it,” Busch said. “It’s pretty sweet to help this team get a win, especially in a place like this.”
Busch helped the Dodgers take the series from the Padres, and head to Milwaukee winners of eight of their last nine.
While he hasn’t had a ton of opportunities at the big league level, he delivered in the biggest spot of his young career.
Hits like that should earn Busch more playing time moving forward. We’ll see how many opportunities he gets in this upcoming series against the Brewers, before Martinez returns to the Dodgers on Friday.
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