Before the game, Dave Roberts talked about the bullpen’s shape after a bullpen game, and he talked about needing length from Tony Gonsolin. That has not been his strength so far this year, but he gave the Dodgers exactly what he needed this afternoon. Unfortunately, the pen ended up being taxed a bit anyway as things would go into extras after they blew the lead late. The best arms for the Dodgers would get rest, but they lost it to the Phillies, 4-3, on a Max Muncy error.
Opposing Gonsolin was old friend Zach Eflin, who has turned himself into a decent rotation option over the years. While he allowed a double in the 1st, he also struck out seven batters the first time through the order by the time Mookie Betts came up for a second time in the 3rd. Well, he certainly seemed to make the adjustment as he jumped all over an inside fastball, smashing his 10th homer of the year to left to make it 1-0.
After another strikeout to open the 4th, it was the long ball that nabbed Eflin again, this time Edwin Rios showcased his easy power for his fifth homer of the year. An oppo shot to make it 2-0, Rios has to be playing his way into relevance against righties.
But other than those two dongs, Eflin was dominating. He did have to work around two runners in the 6th and a single and stolen base in the 7th, but was never really in danger and kept the bats from adding insurance. He struck out a whopping 12.
As mentioned in the lede though, today was about Gonsolin, who looked about as sharp I’ve seen from him against a scary Phillies lineup. That boy nice.
The Cat Man actually faced just two over the minimum through six innings, partially because he continued to do unbelievably well with runners on. Thanks to double plays, he faced the minimum in both the 1st and 5th despite a single and bunt single, respectively.
It was only a walk in the 3rd and a Garrett Stubbs homer in the 6th that turned the Phillies lineup over, and he finished with three strikeouts in a row.
Oddly enough, as great as he was he only barely lowered his ERA to 1.62 due to his run prevention prowess until now, but he tied his season-high in innings, which helped the team a ton: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 90 Pitches.
Protecting a 2-1 lead, the 7th was handed to Alex Vesia, likely primarily for the matchups against Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. Dave made the right move there, with Vesia striking out both of them, allowing only a single against the shift.
Enough guys were down today that Justin Bruihl was used as the setup man in the 8th, starting ominously by issuing a HBP on an 0-2 count. After a sacrifice bunt, Austin Barnes gave up a passed ball to advance the runner to third and Bruihl then issued a walk.
At that point Roberts came out to get him and inserted Yency Almonte, who took all of two pitches to roll a double play and save the game for now.
Almonte was then trusted to close the game out in the 9th, striking out Alec Bohm on three pitches and getting Harper to ground out. However, Nick Castellanos then doubled to left, so Dave intentionally walked Schwarber to put the winning run on first, but Jean Segura immediately made the Dodgers pay with a single to left that tied the game, 2-2.
It’s close, but going after Schwarber probably made the most sense.
So that took things into extras, and there haven’t been any updates on the Dodgers scoring because they didn’t get anything in the 8th and 9th against the Phillies pen. In the 10th there was the ghost runner to start, which was Barnes. Mookie drew a walk to put a couple on, and after Freddie had a weird check-swing roller for a force at third, Trea Turner drove in the ghost for a 3-2 lead.
The Phillies then intentionally walked Rios to load the bases and Max Muncy continued to struggle when actually swinging to strikeout on a pitch down the middle, and while Justin Turner smoked a ball to third, it was gloved for an out to leave them loaded.
That, unsurprisingly, proved key.
Evan Phillips had a tough task in the 10th, but he got an assist with a crazy play from Justin Turner. On a ball hit off the knuckles, Trea made an ill-advised throw to first on an infield single, but after Freddie Freeman tried to throw out ghost runner J.T. Realmuto at third, Justin pretended the ball was thrown wild down the line. Realmuto (and me) was tricked and came off the bag far enough for JT to tag him out for a massive play.
Phillips then got a strikeout, but allowed a single and Mookie almost ended the game as the runner went first to third. However, the attempt at gunning the runner down ended up putting the winning run at second, which setup Max ending his disastrous day with an error that got between his legs to score both runs and walk it off 4-3.
The Dodgers fall to 27-13 on the year, and temporarily have a 1-game lead over the Padres in the NL West.