Following yesterday’s unlikely nail-biter, the Dodgers were tested against the Marlins again today.
I take the blame.
Things were going as expected until the pen got involved, but thankfully Matt Beaty bailed them out with his ongoing hero act and they took the Marlins down by a 10-6 score.
Clayton Kershaw was perfect through three innings and he looked so dominant that it was hard not to wonder if things could get serious. However, in the 4th he allowed an infield single on a swinging bunt in front of the plate that was more an error on Kershaw than anything else after he and Austin Barnes couldn’t seem to decide who would take it, and then he gave up a weakly hit single against the shift.
And that was almost it as he escaped that jam with those being the only two hits he gave up on the night. Heck, he only allowed one walk as well, going six shutout innings and striking out a season-high 10 batters.
Yeah, it was the Marlins, but he pitched well enough to dominate any team, and the slider in particular had that ideal depth.
Offensively, Joc Pederson led the game off for the Dodgers with his 22nd homer of the year.
The bats remained quiet from there until the 4th. Max Muncy walked and Corey Seager knocked a two-out single to start the rally in the inning. Barnes then came through with a lined double to left to plate both runners and make it 3-0.
Kershaw was next up and he drove in his first run of the year with a single to make it 4-0, which should’ve been more than enough with the way he was pitching.
The Dodgers thankfully decided to add on anyway in the 5th, and with two outs again. Justin Turner smashed his 13th homer of the year to dead center to make it 5-0.
Cody Bellinger followed with a walk and then Muncy doubled off the wall in left to plate another and make it 6-0.
JT Chargois entered in relief of Kershaw in the 7th and recorded two strikeouts, but did give up a solo homer to make it 6-1. Most thought nothing of it at the time.
Then the 8th happened. Chargois gave up an infield single and was replaced by Caleb Ferguson, who immediately allowed a double (after Seager dropped a pop-up by the dugout railing) to put the Marlins in business. A walk loaded the bases and he was removed for Yimi Garcia. He allowed a sacrifice fly that plated a run and then a walk loaded the bases again, which setup a double that scored two and made it a 6-4 game all of a sudden.
After Yimi hit a batter with a pitch, Pedro Baez was thrown into the fire with the bases loaded and one out. He got a grounder to Enrique Hernandez, who stepped on second for an out and tried to complete the double play but bounced it to first. Muncy, instead of blocking the ball to at least protect the lead, let it bounce past him and into the dugout to tie the game at 6-6. Baez got a line out to end the threat, but the damage was done and it was disastrous.
But that’s why Beaty exists, right? In the bottom of the 8th, Seager doubled and Barnes walked, setting the stage for Beaty. All he did was line a homer for a third-straight game, this one of the three-run variety, to put them up 9-6.
His fifth dong of the year came complete with pimp job and standing ovation and everything.
Fortunately they wouldn’t need the insurance. Casey Sadler closed tonight’s game out and he ended up having to get four outs thanks to an error by Muncy, but he continued to impress in his brief stint so far.
Seriously though, the Dodgers could use a clean game.
The Dodgers improve to 66-35 on the season and they now lead the NL West by 15 games over the Diamondbacks, the NL by 6.5 games over the Braves, and are tied with the Yankees in the MLB.
A sweep will be on the line tomorrow at 10:10 AM HST/1:10 PM PST/4:10 PM EST. The matchup will be the toughest of the series for the Dodgers, as they will have Walker Buehler (RHP/3.44 ERA/3.17 FIP/2.64 DRA) going but it will be up against the impressive young rookie Jordan Yamamoto (RHP/1.59 ERA/2.88 FIP/3.56 DRA).