The Dodgers went quietly into the Atlanta night, dropping the series opener against the Braves 8-1 in the first game of the six-game road trip.
Alex Wood was making a homecoming for sorts after spending his college years at the University Of Georgia and obviously coming up with the Braves system, though the evening didn’t exactly go the way he planned.
Perhaps more interesting was the story on the Braves side, as they changed starting pitcher two times in the past two days. Originally Matt Wisler was supposed to start this game, but he was used in extra innings on Sunday, so Julio Teheran was bumped up a day to start. However, Teheran arrived to the ballpark sick, so Williams Perez was given the nod on three days rest and Teheran will start tomorrow.
Perez was hardly flawless in his spot start, as he allowed two hits and a three walks in his 3.1 innings of emergency work, but the Dodgers could never capitalize on the baserunners and he ended up allowing no runs thanks to quality work by reliever Ryan Weber in escaping a fourth inning jam for him.
On the flip side of things, Wood was touched up early and often, surrendering two runs in the first inning and two more runs in the third inning, though one of those runs was unearned thanks to a Justin Turner misplay. Two more unearned runs came in the fourth inning after Corey Seager booted a grounder and the Dodgers were buried in a 6-0 hole. Wood was done after laboring through 88 pitches in four innings, and amazingly he was both as bad and not as bad as the scoreline suggested. He gave up seven hits and three walks while only striking out one, but also surrendered only three earned runs thanks to the two errors. That said, he probably pitched more like a pitcher that gave up six runs anyway, but the way the Dodgers offense went it didn’t matter.
In the fifth inning, the Dodgers finally got on the board thanks to singles from Joc Pederson and Chase Utley, with Joc being brought home by a Seager ground out. But that was about it for the offense, as they managed just four baserunners in the final 5.2 innings against the Braves bullpen.
As for the Dodgers’ pen, Adam Liberatore secured the first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the fifth, and while Yimi Garcia allowed a lead-off single, he too retired the side facing the minimum thanks to a double play. However, the bullpen was touched up in the seventh for two runs after after a two-run double against J.P. Howell. Those were charged to Louis Coleman, who started the inning, but only one was earned thanks to another error by Turner. Joe Blanton turned in a perfect inning of his own to close out the Dodgers side of things.
I guess all things considered the bullpen giving up only one earned run over five innings is a win, but when basically every other aspect of the team plays so terrible, it’s hard to derive much happiness from the experience. And I didn’t, because this was arguably the most miserable showing the Dodgers have had all year. Sure, the Dodgers have lost five games prior to this, but at some point or another they were in those contests. Today against the Braves? Never felt like the team played like they knew the game counted.