The quest of the Dodgers to win a series after dropping three in a row has hit a speed bump as they lost the middle game against the White Sox, 8-4. After taking advantage of mistakes to tie the game and then gain the lead, the Dodgers pen imploded in the 8th with help from Dave Roberts.
Coming off one of his best starts of the year, Clayton Kershaw was not especially sharp today. The major blows were the solo homers by Jake Burger and Luis Robert Jr. in the 2nd and 3rd, respectively. However, he also had to work out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the 2nd, and a second and third situation with two outs in the 4th. Granted, he really got himself out of that last one.
Clayton Kershaw fielding his position. pic.twitter.com/WNrpIXdV1v— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 15, 2023
After he got his first clean inning in the 5th, he was greeted with immediate trouble thanks to the defense in the 6th. Miguel Rojas started by allowing a ball right between the wickets, and then another grounder to him was shuffled too late to Mookie Betts covering second (who also missed the bag) to put a pair on. However, he got a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to bail his defense out.
Despite all the traffic, he was relatively efficient and got needed innings: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 97 Pitches.
On the other side, Mike Clevinger of all people was keeping the Dodgers off the board. They blew chances with RISP in each of the first three innings before Clevinger finally got a clean frame in the 4th. Yet the 5th started with back-to-back singles from Rojas and Austin Barnes of all people to corner the runners. However, Mookie and Freddie Freeman followed with back-to-back foul pops, and the Dodgers were 0-for-6 with RISP.
Ahead 1-2 in the count to J.D. Martinez, Clevinger uncorked a pitch that Martinez fouled off, and immediately shook his arm and exited with an injury.
Guessing it's elbow for Mike Clevinger? pic.twitter.com/RcwUUJHldZ— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 15, 2023
Gregory Santos took over him after, and made the Dodgers 0-for-7 by striking out Martinez on one pitch. However, just as quickly as he closed the 5th, he got into a mess in the 6th. David Peralta hit a ball that Santos deflected for an infield single, Chris Taylor followed by blooping a ball into center for a single of his own, and Jason Heyward made it three in a row with a lined single to right. The Dodgers were content to play station-to-station, but the throw got away at home partially cause it’s Yasmani Grandal, and that scored Peralta and advanced CT3 and Heyward to second and third since Santos didn’t backup the play.
That brought in Aaron Bummer, who immediately issued a four-pitch walk to Miguel Vargas to load things up. After a strikeout from Rojas, Barnes followed by hitting a bouncer over the mound that Vargas beat out at second as Tim Anderson‘s toss wasn’t in time, thus tying things up at 2-2.
Dodgers tie the game on a pair of White Sox boners. pic.twitter.com/W57EQEYEna— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 15, 2023
Old friend Joe Kelly was then summoned, and Mookie singled for the lead, plating two runs to make it 4-2. Freddie followed with a walk to re-load the bases, but Kelly was given a gift of a strikeout by J.D. and escaped the inning after a groundout.
Mookie Betts singles with the bases packed for the lead. pic.twitter.com/sFzGBQnSVP— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 15, 2023
That left things up to the pen, which started well behind Yency Almonte, who got a 1-2-3 frame in the 7th on just nine pitches. However, he was sent back out for the 8th and immediately gave up a double and homer to tie the game at 4-4.
Alex Vesia then entered and hit the first batter he faced, got a strikeout, threw a wild pitch, and then gave up the go-ahead single to Clint Frazier to make it 5-4 to the White Sox. Brusdar Graterol was then summoned, as he likely should’ve been to start the inning, and got the final two outs of the 8th on a grounder and a caught stealing.
I already said as much, I'm just pointing out how problems cascade in the big picture. Having one reliable reliever and choosing to run pen games, makes for trying to get every day/inning off you can because of it, and only makes bad things worse. https://t.co/vcQzbvpvqa— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 15, 2023
Anyway, I’m not trying to absolve Dave’s decisions here, but basically everything has gone wrong with the pen and they’re choosing to run pen games to save their starters, so some illogical shit is bound to happen as they try to navigate that. That’s part of the equation when the pitching staff is imploding, just reality that it’s bigger than Dave even if he’s not helping.
Speaking of the pen, Tayler Scott got the 9th and gave up a run on a walk, double, and Robert single to make it 6-4. He did get two outs but was removed for Victor Gonzalez to close the frame out, and ironically Dave ended up using a ton more relievers than he should’ve had to. Worse yet, Victor did not close it out, instead giving up at two-run single and then another single before finally escaping with the score 8-4.
The insurance didn’t matter much, as the White Sox pen carved the Dodgers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, allowing just a pair of walks before finishing them off.
Pitching help, please.
|Dodgers||38-30 (3 GB)|
|Giants||36-32 (5 GB)|
*Either still playing or will play later.