In the marquee matchup of Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer, the Dodgers dropped the third game of the series to the Nationals by the score of 5-2. Buehler out pitched Scherzer, but an awful five-run 8th inning cost the Dodgers the game.
Things didn’t start great as Buehler was confronted with a second and third with nobody out situation in the 1st following a bloop single and an error on a bunt. But he wiggled out of that thanks to Victor Robles getting picked off second in an impressive TOOTBLAN and then getting a fly out and a strikeout to escape potential disaster.
He was never seriously threatened by the Nationals lineup after that, ending his outing by retiring 18 of the last 19 batters he faced. There were some close calls on fly balls, but no jams that put the game on the line, as he limited the opposition to four hits (one double) and a walk, striking out seven in seven shutout frames.
A two-out quick strike in the 3rd seemed to be difference for the Dodgers at that point. Max Muncy drew a walk and Justin Turner followed by smashing a two-run homer to center, his sixth of the season.
Aside from that, the offense didn’t actually do much against Scherzer and that was the only damage he allowed on the night.
After Buehler exited, the trouble began thanks to the bullpen. Pedro Baez then got into a bit of trouble, though not due to much of his own fault. While he gave up a single to start, he then induced what seemed like an easy double-play ball to JT, who rushed his throw and threw it away into right to put runners at the corners. An attempt to bunt for a hit resulted in only a sacrifice as it was directed too hard at Muncy over at first to score the runner from third. Unfortunately, Baez walked the next batter to load the bases and was removed for Scott Alexander. Alexander immediately gave up a single to Juan Soto to trim the lead to 2-1.
Dylan Floro followed Alexander and everything was looking great as he battled through a tough eight pitch at-bat against Anthony Rendon and got him on a strikeout. That brought up Gerardo Parra, who has been with the Nationals for roughly 48 hours. Parra was slashing .191/.277/.258 with a 46 wRC+ coming into this game, so of course Floro was able to put away Rendon but gave up a grand slam to Parra. Of course it was Parra.
Theoretically, this could keep Floro’s ERA at 0.00 for the season, but he also gave up the home run to the batter that he was responsible for and was not affected by the previous error even though that should’ve represented the end of the inning. It’s tricky, but it’ll likely end up being an earned run. If not, it’ll be 18 straight innings to start the season without an earned run.
The Dodgers weren’t able to get a hit over the last two innings, thus concluding a disappointing game that again made it easy to pinpoint the team’s area of weakness.
The loss puts the Dodgers at 26-16 on the year (100-win pace), and drops their lead in the NL West to three games over both the Diamondbacks and Padres.