Coming off a shocking and rather humiliating series loss to the Pirates, the Dodgers returned home and played a dramatic game that featured getting behind big, coming back big, and eventually blowing it, resulting in a 9-7 loss that was puzzling mainly because of the decision making of Dave Roberts.
Tyler Anderson has been amazing for the Dodgers this year, but today he just didn’t have it. Worse yet, due to the amount of games in a row coming up, he was allowed to wear it for the large part. He ended up surrendering seven runs on 10 hits, including two homers that put the Dodgers in the deficit, but in a sense he did his job by getting to 88 pitches and through six innings.
But after seemingly cruising along for the next couple innings, he ran into trouble suddenly in the 6th. A Trea Turner single was followed by a Max Muncy walk to start threat, and then Will Smith made the game interesting with a double down the line in left to make it 7-3.
Meanwhile, holding things down out of the Dodgers pen was Yency Almonte making his debut for the team. He was stellar, striking out four in two scoreless innings to keep the scoreline the same.
That proved important as the Phillies pen imploded in the 8th. Freddie Freeman started things with a single, Trea followed with a walk, and Max finally got a hit, hilariously on a check-swing bunt to load things up. Will then singled to score a run and Justin Turner doubled down the line in left to cut the lead to one. After Cody struck out, Chris Taylor singled to tie the game at 7-7 and corner the runners.
From there it was a bit odd, as Hanser Alberto pinch-hit seemingly to at least safety squeeze, and he got the bunt down but Austin Barnes was out at the plate after appearing to get a late break on the play. Somebody messed up there. Nevertheless, Mookie Betts walked to load the bases again, but Freeman fouled out to end the threat.
That would come back to haunt them, as Daniel Hudson entered to preserve the tie in the 9th and proceeded to struggle again after doing so yesterday as well. After getting an out, a bunt single followed, and then a grounder was deflected off Hudson to Trea, who couldn’t make the play for another single. A walk loaded the bases, and then a wild pitch with Bryce Harper up gave the Phillies the lead, before Harper hit a sac fly to extend it to 9-7.
The Phillies turned to Corey Knebel for the save, who started things by allowing a single to Trea and a four-pitch walk to Muncy. He then loaded the bases after getting ahead of Will in the count at 1-2, walking him on three straight curves.
At that point it was clear that Knebel could not land his curve, but he got through it anyway. Barnes, in the game as a pinch-runner on that failed squeeze, then flied out to right harmlessly on the first pitch, Bellinger fouled out to left, and Taylor flew out to center to end the game.
Knebel didn’t even really have to throw strikes to close the game out either.
Anyway, as the title alludes to, I regret to inform you that the Dave Roberts heat is valid today.
While I can usually see some reasoning in his decisions even if they aren’t necessarily optimal, it was hard to watch what unfolded today and think much of it made any sense. There are a lot of games in a row, but the Dodgers have a ton of pitching depth that they can use, and letting Tyler basically wear it while giving up at least 2-3 extra runs was an odd quasi-surrender given the Phillies pen problems. But okay, that’s maybe defensible, and there’s no problem once it got to 7-1 to bring in Almonte.
But after the game is tied in the 9th, we learn that Hudson is apparently in front of Craig Kimbrel, which is arguably fine. But he already pitched yesterday before a long flight and Kimbrel is rested, and regardless of who he thinks is better, after Hudson walks a batter to load bases loaded, why not relieve him then? Where is Alex Vesia for Harper? Or anybody else for that matter, because he had Reyes Moronta warming up and even he never got in the game, instead letting Hudson go 25 pitches when he clearly didn’t have it.
It makes no sense.
Furthermore, I don’t know where the fault in the failed safety squeeze lies, but if Dave’s going to pinch-run for JT in the 8th once he’s on third, why not do it while he was at second after his double to setup a situation where he could’ve scored on CT3’s single? Instead it ends up going station-to-station, setting up the botched safety squeeze from Hanser, which then has a knock-on effect because Barnes was up with the bases loaded to fly out to right on one pitch in the 9th instead of the suddenly hot JT.
20-10 on the year now and the lead over the Padres is down to 1 game.