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Yoshinobu Yamamoto extends scoreless streak as Dodgers’ $325M rookie continues to find MLB groove

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings with six clean frames on Wednesday night in a blowout 8-0 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks (box score). Additionally, Yamamoto recorded his fourth scoreless appearance in his seventh start in Major League Baseball.

Wednesday’s contest saw Yamamoto amass a game-high 13 swinging strikes, including seven on his trademark splitter. It’s perhaps notable that his fastball velocity was up 0.6 mph versus his seasonal average, from 95.3 mph to 95.9 mph.

Yamamoto, 25, signed a 12-year pact worth $325 million with the Dodgers over the offseason following an illustrious career in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. Not only did he win the league’s Cy Young Award equivalent three consecutive times to close out his career there, he also claimed NPB’s Most Valuable Player Award in each of those seasons. CBS Sports ranked him as the No. 2 free agent this winter.

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Following Wednesday’s start, Yamamoto now has a seasonal statline that includes a 2.91 ERA and a 5.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s averaged just under five innings per start, a rate that is skewed by a horrific first outing against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea that saw him last a single frame. 

Yamamoto has since posted a 1.64 ERA over his ensuing 33 frames, suggesting that he’s more than made the necessary adjustments to MLB’s different ball, schedule, and opponents. 

The Dodgers offense was paced by Mookie Betts and Andy Pages, both of whom drove in two runs, with Betts’ contributions coming as part of a three-knock game. Will Smith, starting at DH in place of Shohei Ohtani (scheduled day off), delivered his fourth home run of the season. 

The Dodgers entered Wednesday with a 19-13 record on the year, giving them a four-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. 

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