Nationals 8, Dodgers 3: A late meltdown secures a series loss

The Dodgers have now lost the series to the worst team in baseball after a 8-3 loss to the Nationals thanks to a late implosion.

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Last time out, Mitch White took a no-hitter into the 6th, tonight he gave up back-to-back singles to start the game. A couple of productive groundouts and a single later saw the Nationals take a 2-0 lead in the 1st.

But one of the things that has made White a useful swingman is that he didn’t give in to a potential disaster, instead battling through five frames. He worked around a two-out single and stolen base in the 2nd, a two-out double in the 3rd, a one-out triple in the 4th (Trayce Thompson took a gamble on a single, to be fair), and finally an infield single and stolen base to lead off the 5th. That one was notable as it that was dramatically erased by Mookie Betts drilling a throw home to get the speedy Victor Robles following a one-out single from Josh Bell to end the threat.

To cap off his outing, he avoided any mess after a two-out single in the 6th, not allowing a run after the initial frame: 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 98 Pitches.

I assume this is going to be his role for a while.

As all that was going on, the Dodgers were working old friend Josiah Gray. They didn’t really get to him early on, but they seemed to tire him out a bit at least.

Still, who else but Mookie gave the Dodgers a bit of momentum shift immediately by responding to the two-run 1st for the Nats by smashing a lead-off homer, his 23rd, to make it 2-1.

Aside from that, it looked to be shaping up like a replay of last night with the stranded runners. They couldn’t get a pair of walks home in the 2nd or a double in the 3rd, and after a clean 4th it looked like Gray was settling in.

But immediately after Betts’ throw, Cody Bellinger stepped up and yanked a high fastball down the line in right for his 13th homer and a 2-2 tie.

They weren’t done. A Trayce single followed and he advanced on a groundout, then Trea Turner beat out a routine grounder to short for an infield single and runners at the corners. Freddie Freeman cashed in with a lined out to center deep enough to score Thompson and make it 3-2.

After all of that finished up, it was Yency Almonte out of the pen in the 7th. While he gave up a lead-off single, he worked through the top of the order, including getting Juan Soto to pop out to end the inning.

In his continued effort to save the pen or whatever, Dave Roberts went with recent call-up Garrett Cleavinger in the 8th. Things started off well, or at least they should have, as his first pitch was hit softly to Gavin Lux at second who promptly fielded the ball and then threw wide for an error. That didn’t seem like it would matter much when Cleavinger rebounded with back-to-back strikeouts, but he then hung a 1-2 slider to Luis Garcia, who hammered a go-ahead two-run shot to make it 4-3 all of a sudden.

Cleavinger completed the inning with a strikeout and rung up the side but was stuck with two unearned. He didn’t have to worry about that as much in the 9th, when he gave up a walk, single, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, and two-run double to make it 7-3.

Phil Bickford came in to get the last out of the frame, but didn’t do so before a single against the shift scored another run and obviously the damage was done at 8-3.

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Didn’t help that the Dodger bats remained rather quiet, going in order in the 6th, managing only a walk in the 7th, and then stranding a chance in the 8th after a single and an error. Mercifully they went quietly in the 9th.

1-for-7 with RISP today.

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64-32 on the year and 10.5 games up on the Padres in the NL West.

The Dodgers try to avoid the sweep early tomorrow at 9:10 AM HT/12:10 PM PT/3:10 PM ET with Andrew Heaney facing maybe future Dodger Patrick Corbin.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times