Rockies 7, Dodgers 6: The streak dies as the bullpen falters

With Sunday’s game reduced to another battle of bullpens following a 4-4 tie midway through the game, the Dodgers lost and dropped a series for the first time this season.

Regression is rather cruel, and it seeming to hit many in the team’s bullpen all at the same time is tough.

It also isn’t that tough, as the 7-6 loss Sunday night still leaves the team 5 games up on the Padres for the NL West lead and 1.5 games over the Rays for the best record in baseball.

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Now the Dodgers had a shot at the comeback late, with Edwin Rios and Gavin Lux each drawing two-out walks against Daniel Bard.

Lux particularly, worked for his walk. After falling behind 0-2, Lux fouled off four pitches to come back and bring Corey Seager to the plate.

However, Seager swung and missed at a first-pitch changeup and then rolled the second one weakly to second base to end the game. The Dodgers themselves didn’t appear too concerned about the series streak as Mookie Betts did not make an appearance in the 9th during his day off.

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Now to first get to the man who took the loss before getting to the rest later.

Caleb Ferguson has really, really struggled in the past week. Allowing a home run for the third time in as many appearances, Ferguson gave up a two-run shot to Matt Kemp just three pitches into his night.

A single up the middle by Kevin Pillar, the same man who hit the grand slam two nights earlier, came on Ferguson’s first pitch before Kemp deposited an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence.

Obviously Ferguson wasn’t going to hold a sub-1.00 ERA all season, but that came quicker than I expected.

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It was Chris Taylor who put the Dodgers out front before falling behind for the final time, sending a Carlos Estevez fastball over the right-field wall for a two-run dong and a 6-5 lead.

For poor Estevez, it was the third home run and sixth run he allowed in his 2 IP during the series after also struggling on Friday.

Sad pitcher pictures were a theme all night.

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So how did we get to a 4-4 tie that left the bullpens in charge?

Well neither Julio Urias or Ryan Castellani were particularly on their game during their 4 1/3 IP outings, particularly the latter if we are being honest.

As Alex mentioned in the game thread earlier today, Castellani had been a bit of a mixed bag entering the day. He was much more on the negative side, as he allowed a trio of home runs to account for the Dodgers’ four runs in the game’s first five innings.

Truly he’s a bit lucky it wasn’t worse than that as he allowed four walks and six hits, but a pair of double plays helped him avoid any more trouble.

Meanwhile, Urias was charged with four runs in his 4 1/3 IP. Urias did strikeout six batters to two walks and five hits, doing so with another outing of heavy curveball usage.

As seen above, the previous two starts showed this was a direction Urias was moving toward. With 34 curves and 34 fastballs tonight, Urias used the former more often than he has this season and the latter less than any other start in 2020. With the two pitches making up 90% of his pitches Sunday night, Urias went another start without a slider.

After allowing a two-run homer to Josh Fuentes in the 2nd, Urias retired 7 out of the next 9 batters before a bunt single by Garrett Hampson started the 5th.

After getting a strikeout, Urias’ day came to an end following a run-scoring single by Raimel Tapia. A two-out single for Nolan Arenado scored Tapia to wrap up Urias’ line.

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While the Rockies scored four through 5 innings, the Dodgers did the same as mentioned earlier against Castellani.

Seager extended his hit streak to 9 games early on, driving an 0-2 pitch 393 feet for a solo homer and, at the time, a 1-0 lead in the 1st.

With the Rockies ahead 2-1 off of the Fuentes homer, Will Smith tied it back up at 2-2.

Much to Austin Barnes‘ clear excitement, Smith entered Sunday slashing .280/.455/.720/1.175 in 33 PAs since he came off of the IL on Aug. 23. Finishing Friday 2-for-4, Smith’s numbers during the run will look even better tomorrow

Then again trailing 4-2 thanks to the struggles in the 5th inning for Urias and Dylan Floro, Seager brought the Dodgers back.

Hit 111 mph off the bat, Seager’s second homer went 427 feet with a 1.000 xBA. All of that seems to pass the eye test when you watch the clip.

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Similar to Friday, the bullpens were left to try and hold off the opposition.

Dylan Floro was up first in the 5th, and twice (sort of) conceded a lead in his 1 1/3 IP. After allowed the single to Arenado in the 5th, Floro returned for the 6th. A leadoff walk was followed by a groundout and strikeout, but Floro departed before finishing the inning.

Jake McGee entered to face his former team and promptly allowed an RBI triple to Hampson. A strikeout ended the 6th, but not before the Dodgers trailed 5-4.

Those would be the only batters McGee faced, with Brusdar Graterol taking over in the 7th. Trying to work around a leadoff infield single, Graterol left with a man on third and two away.

Entering to face Charlie Blackmon, Adam Kolarek continued to do what he does against left-handed batters and ended the inning on a groundout before Ferguson’s meltdown in the 8th.

Dennis Santana wrapped up the bullpen’s day allowing a hit and striking out one in the 9th.

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The Dodgers are off Monday before starting a three-game series in Arizona on Tuesday. Walker Buehler and Luke Weaver will open the series.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore
Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.