The Dodgers dropped another series opener today, 5-2, this time against the Blue Jays, and it was for the same predictable reasons in terms of the offense stalling and the bullpen getting burned.
The loss makes the Dodgers 3-7 in the first game of series on the year and drops the team to 14-15 and 9-7 away from home.
Kenta Maeda‘s command was as shaky as we’ve seen it so far this season, as he walked four batters and racked up 102 pitches in six innings of work. Of course, he was still generally effective, though it probably helped that on one of the two hits he allowed, Yasiel Puig erased Darwin Barney with an amazingly accurate throw as Barney tried to stretch a single into a double.
For the most part, Maeda’s lack of command didn’t burn him as he kept Blue Jays hitters guessing. However, in the bottom of the sixth, he issued a walk to Josh Donaldson on a full count and then hung one slider too many to Jose Bautista on another full count and Bautista crushed a homer to left, accounting for the only two runs Maeda surrendered on the day.
On the other side of the ball, opposing starter Marcus Stroman generally toyed with the Dodgers, at least for six shutout innings. Trying to push it one inning more to avoid going to the Blue Jays bullpen cost them, though, and in the seventh inning Stroman gave up three consecutive two-out hits to Dodger batters. Joc Pederson started the rally off by doubling sharply into the left-center gap, and he scored after Carl Crawford looped a double into the same vacancy. Chase Utley then drilled a 1-1 pitch back up the middle for a clean single, scoring Crawford and tying the game at 2-2.
With the game knotted at two, the Dodgers brought on their bullpen. Louis Coleman retired the first two batters, but Adam Liberatore entered and proceeded to hit a batter, give up a bloop single, and then issue a walk to load the bases for Donaldson, which is always a great idea. Joe Blanton entered and threw one pitch to get Donaldson to pop out in foul ground to Adrian Gonzalez, and Liberatore’s bacon was saved.
Unfortunately then, Blanton couldn’t save his own bacon in the next inning. He managed to retire Bautista on a fly ball hit to the warning track, but then surrendered a ground-rule double, issued an intentional walk, and then had Kevin Pillar hit a ball out of the zone out of the park on a line.
I don’t want to say it’s not Blanton’s fault, because he sorta missed location, but what? It’s a 1-2 count and Blanton has set him up away the rest of the plate appearance, then he comes back with a 93 mph fastball out of the zone almost perfectly located down and in and it’s blasted out of the park at like 120 mph.
Those home runs have been hit by: Hanley Ramirez, Aramis Ramirez, Sheffield, Carlos Lee, Trout, Brandon Phillips, and Pedroia. Now Pillar??
— Daniel Brim (@DanielBrim) May 7, 2016
I dunno, man.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers can’t hit a 3-1 fastball middle-middle. In related news, the Dodgers didn’t score after the brief outburst in the seventh despite late attempts to rally.
The Dodgers face the Blue Jays again tomorrow, but you’re gonna have to get up early as start time is 10:07 AM PST/1:07 PM EST. The Dodgers send ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.