Angels 7, Dodgers 4: A tale of two games

The Dodgers couldn’t overcome a 3-run fifth and 2-run sixth to fall to the Angels on Thursday night 7-4.

It was almost like there were two separate games. The first half of it was clearly the Dodgers’ game, as they had Angels’ starter Jhoulys Chacin on the ropes, while Ross Stripling was pitching well.

They held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Unfortunately, that’s when things unraveled for Stripling and the Dodgers. Stripling allowed a leadoff single to Gregorio Petit on a ball that Trayce Thompson probably should have caught (despite having to dive for it). After a fly out, Stripling walked Kole Calhoun to bring up Mike Trout. Instead of homering to put the Dodgers out of their misery, Trout simply walked to load the bases. Bases loaded for one of the best hitters of this generation, and Dave Roberts elected to leave Ross Stripling in to face Albert Pujols.

Naturally, Stripling struck out Pujols looking on three pitches. It was a fastball on the inside corner. Really, a perfect pitch.

Then after getting ahead of C.J. Cron 0-1, Stripling tried to throw a fastball on the inside corner to him, but the result was different. He hit Cron to make it a 4-3 game.

It really did.

Roberts didn’t have a ton of options to relieve Stripling. Kenley Jansen — no matter how progressive a manager might be — wasn’t about to come into the game in the fifth inning. The other options were less than appealing, but Roberts elected for Chris Hatcher. I could probably stop writing at this point, but you must wallow in the misery same as I.

After a horrible slider on 0-0 to Dodger killer (apparently) Johnny Giavotella, Hatcher threw a fastball right down the middle. Giavotella lined it into left field for a 2-run single to give the Angels a 5-4 lead.

Make that 5-for-13, because baseball.

Hatcher would be charged with two runs in total (despite allowing two inherited runners to score) on four hits. He’s at the point where he’s unpitchable in the majors until he figures out his issues. He doesn’t have any options, meaning the only way he’d get to the minors is through the DFA process. A team would almost certainly claim him, but at this point, he’d be more valuable to the Dodgers if he weren’t on the team. Perhaps a phantom disabled list trip is in order.

Stripling didn’t pitch great, but he didn’t pitch nearly as bad as his line might suggest: 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 90 pitches, 53 strikes, 4/3 GO/AO. He allowed a solo home run to Trout in the third inning. He struggles amazingly once he gets to the third time through the lineup, so it might be time to partner him up with a pitcher capable of throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen (before you ask, I don’t know who).

On offense, Howie Kendrick drove in a couple runs with a triple in the third inning (also added a couple walks, which is out of character for him). The other two Dodger runs scored on a wild pitch and an RBI ground out by Joc PedersonChase Utley went 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored.

The Dodgers fall to 21-21 on the season, while the Angels improve to 19-22. A trip to San Diego is next. Scott Kazmir (3-3, 4.89 ERA) takes on Christian Friedrich (0-1, 1.50 ERA), who is making his second start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for a ridiculously bad 7:40 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.