Padres 5, Dodgers 3: Eric Lauer for the third time in 2018

Coming off a sweep of the Rockies and winners of seven of their last eight, everybody was talking as if the Dodgers winning the division was a foregone conclusion again. However, the last two series they lost were against the Mets and Reds, plus they haven’t been all that good at home this year. Lo and behold, the Dodgers struggled mightily with the lowly Padres today, dropping a key game 5-3.

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Despite being thoroughly mediocre against the rest of the league, Eric Lauer has pooped on the Dodgers twice this year and has given up just a single run in 14.2 innings against them. Well, the offense equaled their output matched their previous output against him by the 3rd inning this time, all thanks to Enrique Hernandez smacking his 21st dong of the year to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Unfortunately, Ross Stripling gave that back immediately. Chicken Strip cruised through three frames, allowing just a single, but surrendered a two-run homer to Hunter Renfroe in the 4th. Eventually he was removed after following that by walking back-to-back batters, and so he lasted just 3.1 innings while throwing 76 pitches, leaving the pen with work to do.

Pedro Baez relieved him and made sure the damage stayed at two runs, getting a foul out and pop-out to escape. He also started the 5th, getting two outs but also walking a batter and allowing a stolen base. Zac Rosscup was then summoned to face a lefty, and got out of the inning with a foul out.

Meanwhile, Lauer limited the Dodgers to just the one run through five. Aside from the homer, the bats got just three plate appearances against him with runners in scoring position and went 0-3. So that’s 19.2 innings on the year against the Dodgers and only two runs surrendered. Of course.

Ryan Madson entered for the 6th and cruised through a 1-2-3 frame on just nine pitches. Dave Roberts pushed his luck with him and tasked him with the 7th as well and he gave up a homer to Freddy Galvis to start the frame, making it 3-1. After a strikeout, Madson was removed for Alex Wood, who got out of the inning on just six pitches with a ground out and a strikeout.

The Dodgers had their big chance in the 7th, as there were runners on second and third with two outs for Justin Turner, but he got out in front of a breaking ball and flied out harmlessly to left to end the threat. For all the hand-wringing about the platoon lineup, things are perceived much differently if Manny Machado and JT don’t account for and waste three of the four scoring chances to this point.

The pen did remarkable work in the 8th, though granted it was to get out of their own jam. Dylan Floro started with a walk and a single to put runners at the corners with nobody out, but then induced a pop-up and got a strikeout. Scott Alexander relieved him to get a lefty, and he did exactly that by notching a strikeout and escaping the inning.

That seemed to be important as the offense got things in gear a bit in their half of the 8th. With one down, Joc Pederson lined a double into right-center, and with two down Yasiel Puig muscled a single into left to finally capitalize on a scoring chance to make it 3-2.

After a Yasmani Grandal walk, things were up to Cody Bellinger with two on and two out, but he struck out to leave the Dodgers still trailing by a run.

John Axford ran into some bad luck to start the 9th, giving up back-to-back infield singles to start and then having JT have a double-play ball handcuff him to load the bases. After Wil Myers doubled off the wall in right for two runs, his night was done.

Hilariously, Pat Venditte came in, got a comebacker, an infield pop-out, and a ground out on a great play by Machado to limit the damage from there. Baseball.

Also baseball is the Dodgers still losing to the Padres after sweeping the Rockies with the season still very much in the balance. Alex Verdugo got a little something going when he singled with one out, took second on defensive indifference, and scored on a two-out Machado single (of course) to make something of a game of it, but that’s where any rally ended.

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The Dodgers drop to 85-69 with the loss, which is especially bad because the Rockies won and the NL West lead is down to 1.5 games.

Tomorrow is now pivotal, as Rich Hill matches up with Jacob Nix at 3:10 PM HST/6:10 PM PST/9:10 PM EST as the Dodgers try to even the series.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times