Coming off a sweep by the rival Giants, the Dodgers had lost three in a row for the third time in their last 13 games, slumping to 4-9 in their last 13.
They surely hoped that returning home and getting an off-day would help, but while it didn’t do much for the bats, Tony Gonsolin still exists and they rebounded with a 2-0 win over their Freeway Series rival Angels thanks largely to him.
Noah Syndergaard has been up-and-down for the Angels in 2022, and today he was up early but then down later, though the struggling Dodgers offense wasn’t able to take advantage.
The game started with Syndergaard retiring 10 in a row, but the 4th was a mess after the first out. Freddie Freeman broke up the perfecto with a walk and then Trea Turner rolled over one to third for an infield single. After a ground out that left the runners cornered with two down, Will Smith drew a walk to load the bases and then Justin Turner also drew a walk to force a run in. Of course, that was all they got, but I was grateful for just the 1-0 lead.
Why not expect more? Well, the 5th was a good example. Chris Taylor led the inning off with a bloop double then immediately stole third. However, Gavin Lux then drilled a ball right into the drawn-in infield and Mookie Betts struck out. That brought in Jose Quijada, who struck out Freeman to end the threat.
So that was frustrating yet again, but thankfully ace Tony Gonsolin was on the hill and did his part to play stopper for the team for the third time in three tries.
Gonsolin never allowed more than one runner in an inning and never let the Angels get an at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Arguably his biggest mistake on the night was thinking there were three outs and walking off when there were only two.
He also pitched into the 7th for the first time, getting an out before being removed for basically a platoon matchup.
Gonsolin lowered his ERA to 1.42 and really is in the NL Cy Young Award convo: 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
Caleb Ferguson made Dave Roberts look good with this relief decision and he continues to look good himself as well, getting two harmless outs on seven pitches.
Daniel Hudson then took over and carved the bottom of the Angels lineup in the 8th with two strikeouts in a clean frame.
Back on the other side, Quijada would then finish the 6th as well, and Andrew Wantz got a clean 7th, which isn’t a surprise with stuff like this going on.
But the Dodgers did rally for insurance in the 8th against Wantz behind Mookie with his 17th dinger to make it 2-0. They walked twice more in the inning as well, but a well-hit fly from Smith died at the warning track.
That was much needed insurance given that Craig Kimbrel has been struggling, but he faced some unexpected adversity.
After a strikeout, he broke a bat and it fell in for a hit on a ball that should’ve been caught, but there was an extended delay as the home plate umpire had to be replaced after he was hit in the face with a bat shard. Scary stuff, but he did walk off and was only bleeding from his nose that I could see.
Things didn’t go well immediately after as Kimbrel then gave up a double to put the tying run on second and then issued a walk to load the bases. However, he rebounded with back-to-back strikeouts to dramatically secure the win.
The Dodgers improve to 38-23 on the year and lead the NL West over the Padres on tiebreak.
The mini-series concludes tomorrow at 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET with the other ace Tyler Anderson facing Reid Detmers.