Honestly, I’ve got nothing for the lead here.
The Dodgers (32-22) lost 11-10 to the Rays (39-16) in an absolutely ridiculous early Sunday morning game to finish off the road trip at 4-6. To make it more annoying, three of those six losses came by one run.
On the other side, Gavin Stone was in the zone for most of the first inning as he finished with 16 strikes on his 20 pitches, and five first-pitch strikes. That included six swing and misses, with three on his five sliders. However, it all still led to three singles for the Rays, who got on the board first as Isaac Paredes sent a fastball to right with two outs and runners on the corners to make it 1-0.
Stone nearly escaped the inning with just one bloop single over Miguel Rojas‘ head, but his 0-2 count against Harold Ramirez resulted in a slider outside the zone being slapped to center at 85.7 mph. Still, he went with 7 fastballs, 7 sliders and 6 change-ups in the first inning, with the last of those three getting his first strikeout.
The top of the Dodgers’ order went down 1-2-3 against Fleming to open the game, but they wasted no time in the 2nd inning. Two pitches led to two runs, as Chris Taylor sent a sinker 414 feet to center and Max Muncy hit a curve 384 feet to right.
Miguel Vargas drew a six-pitch walk after coming back from down 1-2, and moved up to second when Rojas hit a first-pitch change from Fleming for a single. And thankfully Trayce Thompson made it five consecutive base runners with an RBI single to snap his 0-for-39 streak and give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Fleming finally got the ground balls he specializes in to end the inning, just missing a double play against Austin Barnes, before the new, slow Mookie Betts ended the inning with his grounder to short.
That’s when things really went off the rails. If the 1st inning seemed like just a little bad luck for Stone, the 2nd inning was the misery of pitching against the Rays order.
Taylor misplayed a ball in left to start, turning a lead off single by Jose Siri into a triple. Old friend Luke Raley, who had already made a diving catch in the first inning, doubled to right to finish off a seven-pitch at-bat that Stone was ahead 0-2. After another swinging strikeout and a line out, Stone once again was nearly out of the inning with very little damage and still holding a 3-2 lead.
And then Tampa put together five consecutive two-out hits.
In those five at-bats, Stone was ahead 0-1, 0-2 and 0-1 and held a 2-2 count in a fourth, but just could not get out of the inning as the Rays took a 7-3 lead. Brandon Lowe‘s at-bat specifically was the frustrating one. After a first-pitch strike with his fastball and a swing and miss on a change to get the 0-2 count, Stone never went to his slider against the left-handed batter as the switch-hitting Wander Franco had just singled against it.
Leaning on his change, Stone threw the pitch three times, with Lowe fouling off each of them around a fastball that was down and out of the zone. Still ahead 1-2 after six pitches, Stone came up into the zone with a fastball and had it hit right back up the middle.
Needing 57 pitches for the 2 innings, Stone’s day came to an end with 10 hits (7 with two outs), 7 runs, 0 walks and 3 strikeouts. Stone only threw 12 balls, so his strike percentage shot up to 78.9% while he drastically altered his pitch usage. Finishing with 40% changes, 32% fastballs and 28% sliders, Stone finished with 15 misses on 40 swings led by the change with eight on 19 swings.
Stone finished the 2nd inning trailing 7-3, but officially departed the game with a 7-7 tie as the Dodgers put up four runs of their own against Fleming in the 3rd.
A double by Freddie Freeman, extending his hit streak to 17 games, opened the 3rd inning. J.D. Martinez quickly brought him home with a single to left, and Taylor made it three straight hits with his own single to left.
An error on Muncy’s grounder scored Martinez and made it 7-5, with sac flies by the Miguels tying the game 7-7. Unfortunately, Muncy tweaked something in his leg while running the bases and left the game in the bottom half of the inning with what the Dodgers called a cramp in his hamstring.
James Outman took over for Muncy, moving Thompson to left field and Taylor in to third base, while Phil Bickford took over on the mound. Raley walked to open the inning and moved up to second on the first of five steals by the Rays in the game. Yandy Díaz‘s single broke the tie and put the Rays back in front 8-7 before two more came across in the 4th against Bickford as Tampa Bay took a 10-7 lead.
A home run by Paredes, a single by Josh Lowe, a walk to Siri and three stolen bases pushed those two runs home, and Bickford’s day ended with 3 runs allowed on 3 hits and 2 walks, though he did strikeout 4 with 9 whiffs on 21 swings.
The cracks in the simulation during this game really started to show in the 5th, as Thompson continued his pursuit of a 39-for-39 run with a 442-foot home run that was 108.2 mph off the bat to dead center. That was his third hit in as many at-bats while accounting for two of the Dodgers’ 8 RBIs to that point.
Shelby Miller was up next out of the bullpen, walking Lowe in the 5th, who was guaranteed to end up on second base. A wild pitch actually put him at third, but Miller still managed to register the first scoreless inning by a Dodger pitcher.
In doing so, Miller allowed the Dodgers to tie the game again at 10-10 with another set of back-to-back homers in the 6th. While I mentioned Fleming had allowed his last few runs on home runs specifically in the Game Thread, I did not expect him to give up five.
After Martinez hit his 10th of the year swinging 3-1, Taylor sent out his 9th of the year. Through three plate appearances, Taylor managed to see just two pitches thanks to his pair of first-pitch hits and an intentional walk. He doubled that pitch total by taking a ball before hitting his second homer of the day.
The Dodgers numbers against left-handed pitching are going to look much better after this with Fleming finishing the day with 6 innings while allowing 10 runs (8 earned) on 12 hits and 2 walks to 3 strikeouts.
With the Dodgers granted another fresh start, Miller’s day was done after his 18 pitches in the 5th with Victor Gonzalez returning the game to some semblance of reality. Gonzalez became the first Dodger to retire the Rays in order on just 10 pitches in the 6th.
Wasting an error and a walk by the Rays with Jalen Beeks on the mound in the 7th, the Dodgers had Gonzalez return to face the unstoppable Raley, who rolled a ball three feet and reached base for the the third time in the game as Freeman and Gonzalez didn’t really communicate well on the play. Brusdar Graterol took over for Gonzales with Raley at first, though he soon moved up to third on a one-out single by Diaz. Naturally, Franco chopped a ball into the ground to bring home Raley (his third run scored in the game) for the 11-10 lead after 7 innings.
Jason Adam entered for Tampa Bay in the 8th and nearly recorded the first 1-2-3 inning for the Rays since the 1st inning. However, Taylor drew a two-out walk as he came back from 0-2, which brought James Outman to the plate. Sadly, his rough May was encapsulated pretty well with the tying run at first when he looked at sweeper and change down the middle of the plate and struck out on a high 1-2 fastball.
Still trailing 11-10, the Dodgers sent Yency Almonte out for the 8th as the sixth pitcher of the day. Recording a trio of strikeouts swinging against the sweeper, Almonte looked incredible on his 17 pitches.
While the Dodgers probably expected to see Rays’ closer Pete Fairbanks in the 9th, instead it was Adam back for a second inning and Fairbanks was shown hobbling back to the dugout as the inning started. Ultimately it did not matter. Vargas went down on strikes and a pinch-hitting Jason Heyward did the same, leaving Will Smith (hitting for Thompson) as the last hope. After he couldn’t get the Dodgers in order in the 8th, Adam did so in the 9th with Smith popping up to the pitcher to close out the game.