Dodgers 8, Padres 1: A win for Vin

Vin Scully Banner

Before we get to the hilarity of that game, here’s just a small sample of the celebration the Dodgers put on for Vin Scully tonight. The pregame ceremony was shown on MLB TV, including all of the Dave Roberts address to the crowd before he capped it off with the crowd joining together for the “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” shown below.

https://twitter.com/SportsNetLA/status/1555737722358181888
https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/1555735185991249922

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Now as for the game, well it was absolutely hilarious as the Dodgers cruised to an 8-1 victory against the Padres. Especially amusing once it got to the 8th inning.

There’s really no need to make a big deal out of an early August win with a 12.5-game lead coming into the night, but everyone would be lying if they said it meant absolutely nothing. And now poor Juan Soto has become the opener for Manny Machado‘s always expected reaction from the Dodger Stadium crowd rather than the cheers from a few weeks ago.

While the Padres threatened early against Tony Gonsolin, forcing him to throw 30 pitches in the 1st, it was the Dodgers’ offense that came up with the early lead against Sean Manaea.

A double to left on the second pitch of the game put Mookie Betts on second base with Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman soon joining him off a single and hit by pitch, respectively. Swinging at the first pitch with the bases loaded, Will Smith hit it all of two feet at 78.9 mph to drive in a pair of runs.

As Mad Choriyama captured in the video, Hanser Alberto plated two more two batters later as he sent a ball right to Brandon Drury at third base for a 4-0 lead.

That may have been it for the Dodgers in the 1st, and Manaea worked a 1-2-3 2nd inning, but the offense struck again in the 3rd.

Freeman and Smith both singled to begin the inning, with the latter moving to second on his as Freeman forced a throw to third from Soto. After striking out on a change down and in during his first at-bat off the IL, Chris Taylor sent a 2-1 change left over the plate to left for a two-run double and a 6-0 lead.

Taylor stole third after his double and appeared he could be stranded there, but a walk for Trayce Thompson allowed Cody Bellinger to cash in two more on yet another double.

The Dodgers put two on in the 4th and 6th, but left them stranded as the offense didn’t need more than those eight early runs.

The Padres did put in a position player to pitch, which is when things got weird.

Here’s Joey Gallo going opposite field against a 51 mph “slider”:

Tyler Anderson, pinch hitter:

Anyway, after a 30-pitch 1st inning that included a pair of singles for the former Washington Nationals now in the Padres lineup, Gonsolin threw 22 pitches in the 2nd and then just six in the 3rd.

It was just a small change, but after throwing eight splitters in the first, Gonsolin dropped down to just two in the 2nd, with none coming in the final 16 pitches of the inning. That stretch included six straight fastballs to strikeout Trent Grisham and another pair of four-seamers when ahead 1-2 on Ha-Seong Kim to strike him out as well.

Gonsolin immediately went right back to the splitter, using three in the 3rd that led to a lineout by Soto, a double for Machado, and a ground out from Josh Bell, before once again throwing just one splitter in his 16 4th-inning pitches, and then five of 24 in his final inning.

My obsession with Gonsolin’s pitch sequencing aside, his 5-inning outing included six strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed that absolutely didn’t seem plausible after the first inning. Now the 98 pitches needed, with five batters needed eight or more pitches, wasn’t ideal, but it was mostly a function of the Padres fouling pitches off (28) rather than Gonsolin being wild. Of his 98 pitches, 64 were for strikes with 13 called on the fastball and 14 of those 28 fouls on the pitch he leaned on pretty heavily at 53% compared to a season average of 37.7%.

With 28.6% of his pitches fouled off, that’s a rise from the 23.9% in his last start (which had been a season high) and well ahead of the 18.5% he had in his first 16 starts this season. That’s really nitpicking a scoreless outing, but something to keep an eye on if it consistently shows up or he struggles to put batters away going forward.

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David Price continued to quietly serve as a reliable pitcher to eat innings in games exactly like this with a 13-pitch1-2-3 6th inning, including stikeouts of Machado and Bell. Coming back out for the 7th, Price got Jake Cronenworth to ground out and struck out Drury before coming out after a walk to Grisham.

Make that 16 1/3 innings with 16 strikeouts to four walks in 16 outings for Price since June 18. He’s given up just two runs during the stretch, with one being on a solo homer.

Reyes Moronta entered to strikeout Jorge Alfaro … and Jurickson Profar, Nomar Mazara and Matthew Batten around an infield single in his 1 1/3 innings of work.

Finally, Phil Bickford entered in the 9th to close out the game and ruin the shutout. A leadoff walk, a defensive indifference, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly allowed the Padres lone run of the game before Bickford got Grisham to ground out and end it.

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Now 73-33, a 111-win pace, the Dodgers will send Andrew Heaney (0.77 ERA/2.30 FIP/3.02 xFIP in 23 1/3 innings) to the mound against Mike Clevinger (3.13 ERA/3.61 FIP/3.78 xFIP in 60 1/3 innings) with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m.

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.