The Dodgers continued their frustrating stretch tonight, dropping the contest by a score of 3-1. The team has lost six of their last eight games and cannot seem to beat the Giants this year.
Paul Maholm, tonight’s starter, continued to look very shaky. After hitting Brandon Belt with a pitch in the second inning (which broke Belt’s thumb, unfortunately), Maholm retired ten batters in a row. But then, more Brandons. Brandon Hicks walked, then Brandon Crawford hit a home run, scoring the first two Giant runs. The Giants added another run in the sixth before Maholm was removed.
Maholm’s poor pitching is starting to become a big problem. Three runs in 5-2/3 innings isn’t terrible, but he had three swinging strikes in 102 pitches tonight. That is not a major league whiff rate. His two strikeouts (both looking) brought his K/9 total to 3.47. He has more walks than strikeouts (3.72 BB/9 after four walks tonight, one of which was intentional). Maholm’s ERA is now 4.71, but his FIP is 5.87 and his xFIP is 5.20. He’s the worst pitcher in baseball (minimum 30 innings). Hyun-jin Ryu can’t return a moment too soon.
Following Maholm’s removal, the Brandon League Redemption Tour continued. League got the final out in the sixth inning. He loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk in the seventh, but Hunter Pence hit into a 1-2-3 double play and Buster Posey flew out. League ended up pitching 2-1/3 innings, requiring only 29 pitches to do so. J.P. Howell added a scoreless ninth inning to cap off a good night for the bullpen.
Madison Bumgarner pitched well, but maybe not quite as well as his eight innings, eight strikeouts, and one walk would indicate. He left a lot of balls up, especially early in the game, and the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize despite hitting a barrage of long fly balls. The first six outs of the game were all to the outfield, five of which went to center fielder Angel Pagan.
Tensions began to erupt in the bottom of the sixth. Yasiel Puig put the only Dodger run on the board with a bomb to dead center field. He flipped his bat a bit and jogged somewhat slowly around the bases. Bumgarner yelled something at Puig as he crossed the plate. After play resumed, Don Mattingly was ejected for yelling from the dugout. Things quieted down after that, but it wouldn’t be surprising if this isn’t the end it. I hope it is, though.
Other than Puig’s home run, the offense couldn’t break through. Kemp lined two singles to left and Justin Turner added one hit, but that was it.
After tonight’s loss, the Dodgers are now 4-1/2 games back in the division. They’ll continue to search for a win against the Giants behind Zack Greinke tomorrow. Matt Cain will make his return from the disabled list for the Giants. The game will be on Fox Sports 1 (good news for those without SNLA) at 1:10PM Pacific Time.