After a day off, the Dodgers saw their seven-game winning streak come to a screeching halt in the series opener against their Cardinals, not unlike their comeback attempt in the 7-6 loss.
Admittedly, the Cardinals were assisted by some odd choices by the Dodgers dugout tonight.
Mitch White was basically asked to wear it today. He didn’t have his best against a quality lineup and it showed, giving up three runs in the 2nd, a run in the 3rd, and two more in the 4th, but he did give the team a bit of length at least.
Still, six runs is quite a bit of a hole to climb out of: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 90 Pitches.
Yet against a Cardinals pen game, the Dodgers offense slowly but surely chipped away at the various deficits they faced.
After not getting anything out of a single and two walks in the 1st and only getting a walk in the 2nd, the Dodgers got on the board in the 3rd behind a Trea Turner infield single and Freddie Freeman lashing a double into the opposite field gap for a run. Justin Turner would later draw a two-out walk as well, but nothing more came of it.
After a quiet 4th, White had given up all his runs for the day and the Dodgers offense got back into things in the 5th, again striking quickly. Mookie Betts led the inning off with a single and Trea followed by yanking his 12th homer of the year to left off the fair pole to make it 6-3.
The bats would come right back with more in the 6th, as Hanser Alberto led the frame off with a double, advanced on a groundout and then scored on an Austin Barnes groundout to cut the deficit to two.
The 7th is what ended up being the key inning in the game. The Dodgers started with Trea reaching on a catcher’s interference call, Freeman following with a single, and then Will Smith singling to right to make it 6-5 with both runners advancing on a throwing error in an attempt to get Freeman at third. Following a walk to JT, the bases were loaded with nobody out.
In a somewhat confusing move, Dave Roberts then went to Max Muncy to pinch-hit for Trayce Thompson despite the Cardinals having a lefty up in the pen and a struggling righty on the mound. Well, Muncy hit a shallow fly ball, Alberto popped up, and Cody Bellinger struck out for a crushing end to a rally.
Even if you were to argue that Gavin Lux‘s platoon splits prevented the Dodgers from going to him here, despite him being red-hot and making that questionable reasoning in itself, there’s no reason to really bail the Cardinals out by pinch-hitting there and giving them an easy excuse to go get a struggling pitcher.
On the other side, the Dodgers pen entered in the 6th with Phil Bickford, who got a 1-2-3 frame. Yency Almonte followed in the 7th, allowing a walk in his inning but keeping the Cardinals off the board.
Then in another odd move by Dave, it was David Price who entered in a one-run game in the 8th, despite the team coming off a rest day with Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson being alive even if it was about wanting a lefty there. Well, he allowed a double and two singles in his inning for an insurance run that proved important and made it 7-5.
Its impact was immediate. After a quiet 8th, Freddie led off the 9th with what could’ve been a game-tying homer to right, his 12th, but instead simply cut the deficit to 7-6. The Dodgers could only muster a walk the rest of the inning as they fell in the series opener.
56-30 on the year and temporarily see their NL West lead over the Padres (still playing) fall to 7 games.
The Dodgers do it again tomorrow with Tony Gonsolin on the hill against Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals at 1:45 PM HT/4:45 PM PT/7:45 PM ET.