The Dodgers have been losers in 8 of their last 11 games and were in danger of being swept by the Cardinals tonight, so as I said earlier today, it was about time for them to have a sense of urgency about results. Well, they certainly didn’t seem to show much in a 3-1 loss.
Walker Buehler was undoubtedly the star of the show today. In his 104 pitches and seven innings tonight, he allowed just two Cardinals to reach scoring position and wiggled out of both situations. He allowed just three hits and two walks in his start, and his ERA dropped to 2.96 on the year after his shutout frames. Buehler struck out nine batters, including one of baseball’s hottest hitters in Matt Carpenter three times.
The Dodgers desperately needed this one and Buehler stepped up for them with his best effort.
Things on the other end … were not going well. Jack Flaherty didn’t allow a hit through five innings, with two walks being the only blemish. Fortunately, Joc Pederson ended the no-hit bid in the 6th with a towering shot to right-center, his 19th dong of the year.
It’s too bad that Buehler ever had to come out of the game, because the lead didn’t last for much longer. Scott Alexander entered in the 8th, and while he got a ground out, strike out, and fly out in the frame, he also gave up a game-tying solo homer to Tyler O’Neill. Aside from the pen blowing it yet again, the worst part is it came on a sinker that was a ball below the knees, not even a terrible pitch.
The bats did threaten in their half of the 8th, as with one out Yasiel Puig smacked a solid single up the middle and Matt Kemp hit a bouncer to third but reached on an error. Joc then hit a hard bouncer of his own, but was robbed on a diving play by Carpenter that advanced the runners but led to the second out. After Justin Turner drew a walk to load the bases, Manny Machado had a chance to be a hero, but he ended the threat by grounding out routinely to short.
That brought on Kenley Jansen in the 9th of a tie game once again, and it was not good once again. He gave up a bloop single with one out, which was no big deal, but then he served up the go-ahead, game-winning two-run shot to Paul DeJong. Kenley also gave up an infield single and stolen base before getting out of it. Not great.
After the offense went down 1-2-3 in their half of the 9th, all on strike outs and all looking, that was it. For the game and what feels like the season.
The Dodgers are now 67-61 on the year. With the Diamondbacks winning, they now trail by 4.5 games in the NL West. With the Brewers also winning today, they are now 3.5 games back of a playoff spot.
It feels like I find myself saying this every time they get a day off, but thankfully the Dodgers have a break tomorrow. Then they’ll welcome the Padres for a three-game series starting at 4:10 PM HST/7:10 PM PST/10:10 PM EST, with Rich Hill facing off against Clayton Richard.