Riding high off the sweep of a quality Braves team, the Dodgers found themselves at the start of a three-game set against the rival Giants with the lead in the NL West on the line.
Well, basically the lineup continued to hit like shit but did enough to prolong the game enough to make the loss worse as they fell in extras, 3-2.
Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani has started five times against the Dodgers this year and has a 9.43 ERA in those starts, but otherwise has been stellar. Oh yeah, he’s also making just his second start since coming off the injured list.
Well, so much for those concerns as the lineup was shutout by him over six scoreless. They had just two at-bats with runners in scoring position, both due to Trea Turner getting on base, but were unable to capitalize either time.
Just as important as scoring was they allowed DeSclafani to go deeper into the game, allowing him to throw just 30 pitches over his final three innings.
With David Price having arm issues, Corey Knebel started as the opener and certainly did his job. He gave up just a single in each of his two scoreless innings, providing 32 pitches for the team, which were five more than his season high.
Phil Bickford took over in the 3rd and was not good. He started his outing by issuing a walk to the opposing pitcher, following that with another walk, and then gave up a single to load the bases with nobody out. He at least rebounded by striking out Kris Bryant, which is where his outing ended.
Dave Roberts then turned to Alex Vesia, who promptly left an 0-2 fastball to pinch-hitter Austin Slater in the middle of the zone that was banged for a single and a 1-0 lead. However, he avoided disaster by getting a grounder for a force out at home and then a line out to center to keep things close.
Brusdar Graterol was next up in the 4th, giving up a lead-off double on a late swing, but getting a ground out that moved the runner to third, a key strikeout of the opposing pitcher, and then another ground out to escape.
The 5th was when things were getting a bit dicey in terms of relief talent. Shane Greene entered from the pen, getting two quick outs that included a strikeout to start things off nicely. The trouble started with back-to-back walks, which spelled the end of his day, but Justin Bruihl entered and got a ground out. He continued in the 6th, getting the first two outs before being relieved.
Blake Treinen entered and faced mess immediately after Max Muncy couldn’t dig a Justin Turner bounced throw and a runner reached on an error. A fliner to center was initially ruled caught by Cody Bellinger but then (of course) overturned on a questionable decision for a single. As usual, Treinen remained locked in and got a pop out to end the inning, then cruising through the 7th as well with two pop outs and a ground out.
A double greeted new reliever Joe Kelly in the 8th, but a popped bunt, a routine fly out, and then a nice play by Turner saved a run for a ground out to keep the score 1-0.
The Limp Bats Get Wood
Well, about that score, obviously it remained that way because the Dodgers couldn’t generate much the way of offense. Tony Watson gave up a single to start the 7th, but then got three outs in a row to make the Dodgers 0-for-12 with men on for the game. It stayed that way after Tyler Rogers carved the Dodgers in the 8th.
The 9th was different as old friend Jake McGee entered and gave up a one-out single to JT and a double from Corey Seager. Will Smith then stepped up and rapped a grounder, but it was directly at the second baseman and JT was forced to retreat after the throw went home. In a bit of an odd happening, both JT and Seager ended up on third, Buster Posey tagged them both and Seager was out. But both runners stepped off the bag, and with a chance to end the game, Posey tagged the already out runner.
That gave Chris Taylor a chance with runners at the corners, and he took full advantage with a Barrels Are Overrated special to tie things at 1-1.
Albert Pujols would pinch hit to try and get the go-ahead run home, but instead grounded out to end the inning.
The bottom of the 9th belonged to Kenley Jansen, who absolutely did not have his control tonight. Out of his 21 pitches, he threw just eight strikes. Despite two walks in the inning, he did make the strikes count at least, with two fly outs and a ground out in a dramatic mess of an inning.
Also Darin Ruf did this.
Dominic Leone started affairs in the 10th, getting a fly ball hit to the warning track in center that barely advanced ghost runner Pujols from second to third. At that point Dave pinch-ran for Pujols with Walker Buehler (lol), and it immediately paid off when Trea skied a fly ball for a sacrifice and a 2-1 lead.
Making his debut with the Dodgers was the recently-acquired Andrew Vasquez, who immediately gave up a seeing-eye single up the middle to Brandon Crawford that tied the game. Worse yet, they never had a chance of getting the runner at home but the throw went through anyway and Crawford advanced to scoring position … probably because the first baseman was Smith, making his debut there.
Vasquez then got a ground out to advance the runner and a key strikeout before leaving.
Evan Phillips was given the ball, getting a strikeout to end the threat and keep the game moving.
Jarlin Garcia started roughly in the 11th, giving up a single to Seager that cornered the runners, then falling behind Smith for a 3-1 count. However, Smith swung at the next pitch and hit a routine grounder to short, which resulted in an out at home as ghost runner JT was trying to score. Taylor then struck out, and Phillips did what you expect the pitcher to.
Phillips thus had the tall task of keeping the Giants scoreless, getting a strikeout to start, issuing an intentional walk, then an unintentional walk to load the bases. Evan then got a routine fly out and induced another grounder, but an error from the combo of an errant throw from Trea and inexperience around the bag from Will led to a loss.
Of course, we should keep the blame where it’s deserved, which is the offense that is second-worst in baseball since August 18th.
The loss drops the Dodgers to 85-50 on the year and gives the Giants a 1-game lead in the NL West.
The rivals will get it on again tomorrow night at 3:05 PM HT/6:05 PM PT/9:05 PM ET. Julio Urias (3.17 ERA/3.41 FIP/3.36 xERA) will be the starter for the Dodgers, but the Giants … well, it seems like a pen game.