The closest any Dodgers player came to commenting on Trevor Bauer’s two-year suspension Friday night was this exchange with Clayton Kershaw when reporters approached him at his locker before the game.
Kershaw: “What’s this about?”
The Times’ Dylan Hernandez: “You know…”
Kershaw grinned: “I can’t talk about that. Everybody’s day good?”
A few hours later, the answer from several teammates was a resounding yes. The Dodgers opened a five-game homestand with a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers by taking an early lead and riding a stellar start from Tyler Anderson.
Justin Turner and Chris Taylor each hit their first home runs of the season, the last Dodgers regulars to do so. Turner’s was a two-run blast in the first inning after Freddie Freeman walked and stole second, and Taylor’s was a solo shot in the second.
Turner’s slump has lingered long enough for him to open his stance to get a better look at pitches. “There’s a few more things in there but that definitely has helped,” he said. “I’m seeing the ball better, hitting the ball harder.”
The Dodgers tacked on a run in the third on Trea Turner’s sacrifice fly, chasing Tigers starter Tyler Alexander from the game, and another in the fourth when Mookie Betts’ infield hit was botched by shortstop Javier Baez, allowing Will Smith to score.
Anderson, signed in mid-March as a bulk reliever and spot starter, was inserted into the rotation when Andrew Heaney went on the injured list because of shoulder discomfort April 21. He allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings of his first start a week ago in a loss to the San Diego Padres.
This time he went five efficient innings, giving up one run and five hits, throwing 44 strikes among his 69 pitches.
“I like the way he prepares, he competes, he executes pitches,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s like a position player who is a pitcher. He’s tough as nails and certainly with what’s going on with our ballclub with pitching, I’m happy we signed him.”
Evan Phillips, Phil Bickford, Brusdar Graterol and Reyes Moronta each threw a scoreless inning in relief.
“They’ve done a great job of shortening the game,” Roberts said. “The ability to tack on runs and stay away from guys you don’t want to use [in the bullpen] is good in the long run.”
Roberts much preferred discussing Anderson and the bullpen to saying anything about Bauer and the two-year suspension handed down by MLB earlier Friday.
“I don’t think it’s smart for me to make any comments,” he said. “All I know is our guys have done a great job of focusing on the job at hand and the guys in the [clubhouse]so that’s kind of where our heads are.
Meet Tommy Kahnle: Although Roberts said he doesn’t know when Heaney and reliever Blake Treinen will “pick up a ball” in their recoveries from shoulder discomfort, he said reliever Tommy Kahnle will be added to the active roster Tuesday.
Kahnle signed a two-year, $4.75 million contract before the 2021 season even though the Dodgers knew he wouldn’t pitch until this season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2020. In six innings over seven appearances in his minor league rehab assignment, Kahnle has given up one run and struck out six.
Kahnle, who in 277 2/3 career innings has 344 strikeouts and 225 hits allowed, is the latest low-risk, high-reward gamble by the Dodgers, especially when it comes to attempting to shore up the bullpen. Corey Knebel worked out well last season, Jimmy Nelson was very good for a short time and Brandon Morrow was a bust.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.