Dodgers 2, Rockies 1: Strong start for Mitch White leads way to a sweep

Tied 1-1 after 7 innings of a pitching duel between Jose Urena and Mitch White, the Dodgers were forced to lean on their bullpen as the offense failed to take advantage of what would appear to be (should) have been a favorable match-up.

Yency Almonte took care of his part, facing three batters in the 8th despite hitting the leadoff man, after David Price picked up for White in the 6th and rolled through a 1-2-3 7th inning. It just fell on the offense to get anything going as the pitching held the Rockies to 1 hit in 8 innings. That did not happen with the chances in the 7th and 8th, which sent Craig Kimbrel into a tie game in the 9th where needed just FIVE pitches to keep Colorado at 1 hit.

Finally in the 9th, a third hit of the day for Cody Bellinger and a (.090 xBA) single against the shift by Gavin Lux put runners at the corners with no outs and a pinch hitting Will Smith to the plate against Daniel Bard. And it managed to continue from there following a walk, with Mookie Betts at the plate to win it … and did so in a very fitting way for this game.

Honestly, what a weird (stupid) game that was.

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Starting for the first time as a Rockie/Rocky, Urena’s first appearance in the majors since April 26 stumped the Dodgers for much of his 6 2/3 innings.

As Allan said in the Game Thread:

“This is the kind of pitcher you’d bet on the Dodgers to beat up, but the offense has had poor showings against struggling pitchers before.”

Well, well, well, that’s absolutely what happened.

A one-out walk for Trea Turner followed by a single for Freddie Freeman in the 1st would be just about it until a leadoff single by Bellinger in the 5th. Sure, there was a leadoff walk for Jake Lamb in the 2nd but it was erased by a double play, with Lux’s two-out walk in the same inning leading to nothing. Bellinger did reach third off that single in the 5th, but was stranded there as Betts sent ball 396 feet to the warning track where it was caught to end the inning on a .790 xBA.

A 1-2-3 6th against Trea Turner, Freeman and Max Muncy would be Urena’s final clean inning as he allowed a trio of singles in the 7th. Justin Turner opened the inning with an infield hit, but was erased at 2nd on another double play following the force at 1st on a grounder by Lamb.

Finally chasing Urena from the game after 89 pitches, Bellinger and Lux both singled with two outs in the 7th. Jake Bird and his 9 1/3 career innings in the majors entered to face Austin Barnes, who ended up drilled in the shoulder by a 2-1 sinker. That brought Betts to the plate with the bases loaded and two away, and a progressively wild curveball let the Dodgers tie the game in almost as entertaining of a way as they allowed the opening run (more on that below).

Unfortunately the wild pitch would be it, as Bird sent a 3-2 sinker in over the plate that Betts rolled to third base and set up his eventual walk-off in the 9th.

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Now in his seventh start of the season for the Dodgers, White worked through his longest outing this season and actually the longest start of his career. Last August, White did go 7 1/3 innings against the Pirates but he did so after following Justin Bruihl‘s 1 2/3 innings as an opener and threw only 91 pitches.

Holding the Rockies hitless for the first 5 1/3 innings of the game, White allowed just a single walk in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th with no base runner reaching third during the stretch and each only getting to second with two outs.

Sitting at 60 pitches through 4, White opened the 5th with a battle against Randal Grichuk that ended in a strikeout with a sinker low in the zone catching him looking on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. After another 13 pitches, White ended the inning with three strikeouts but upped his count to 83 pitches.

Carrying the no-hitter into the 6th while surpassing his career high in pitches, White immediately got a lineout before walking Kris Bryant. Unfortunately, Brendan Rodgers then sent a 3-2 slider straight to center where it landed in front of Bellinger with the following ensuing:

White got C.J. Cron to lineout before leaving the game at 102 pitches across 5 2/3 innings, with the 1 hit, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. Throwing 24 sinkers in the game, White upped the pitch from his 3.5% usage this season according to Baseball Savant. Five of those sinkers came in the 10-pitch at-bat to Grichuk, but that was a change after he’d thrown 26 sinkers in his major league career before Wednesday.

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And to cap it all off:

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Sitting at 52-29 through the official first half of the season and a 6-game lead over the Padres, the Dodgers begin a four-game series in Los Angeles against the Cubs Thursday night. Tony Gonsolin will face off against Mark Leiter Jr., who will start his fourth game of the season for Chicago in his first major league season since 2018.

About 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.