This was a frustrating one.
The Dodgers had their chances. They had a lot of them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize, falling to the Padres, 5-3. The series is now tied as they head to San Diego for two games.
Here are my takeaways from the loss.
Dodgers offense doesn’t deliver
What if I told you before the game that the Dodgers would finish with 11 hits, with three of those being home runs.
You’d probably think they won the game with ease. I would have sure thought so. Well, that’s why you play the game, because anything can truly happen. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the offense didn’t deliver when it mattered most.
For the night, the Dodgers were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 10 runners on base. If they recorded just one hit in those situations, they likely win this game. The best offense in all of baseball couldn’t come through with a hit when it mattered most.
Hell, they didn’t even need a hit, a freaking fly-out would have gotten the job done.
Their first opportunity came in the fourth inning, as they had runners on first and second with only one out. Trayce Thompson and Cody Bellinger had back-to-back strikeouts, ending the inning.
Fast forward to the sixth inning. Will Smith led off with a single and was followed with a single from Max Muncy. This is where things got a bit interesting, as it looked like Muncy could have gotten to second base on the play. Instead, he ended up at first base.
Juan Soto made it seem like it was a routine flyout, causing Smith to go back to first and forcing Muncy to remain there. When it fell down, Smith made it to third but Muncy was stranded at first…. which proved to be costly.
Justin Turner struck out swinging, bringing up Gavin Lux to the plate. He grounded into an inning-ending double play. Remember when I said Muncy not getting to second was costly? Well, had he been at second base instead of first the inning would have continued and the Dodgers likely would have scored a run, maybe more.
Fast forward to the seventh inning, where the Dodgers had runners on third and second and one out. Trea Turner was at the plate, who had been arguably LA’s best hitter to start the series. On the first pitch of the at bat, he grounded out to Manny Machado. Literally the worst-case scenario.
After an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, Will Smith stepped up. He lined out to center field, ending the inning.
The Dodgers had two runners on base in the eighth inning, but we’ll get to that in the next takeaway….
With two on and two outs in the eighth inning, Dave Roberts opted to pinch hit Austin Barnes for Cody Bellinger. Not Chris Taylor or Miguel Vargas….
Just like you, I questioned the decision.
Following the game, Dave Roberts explained the move, saying he liked Barnes’ short swing and flat path approach, compared to Chris Taylor who swings more uphill. Sure, I guess that makes sense, but what?
Taylor has had countless clutch moments in the postseason. You could make the case he’s the best overall hitter on the bench. Instead, Barnes is the option in the biggest moment of the game. I will give credit to Barnes, as he nearly sent one to the warning track, but I just can’t get behind the decision at all.
Ultimately, that isn’t what cost them the game but it still was a baffling move I still can’t really get behind.
- Sloppy defense from Trea Turner. An error from him in the sixth inning cost LA a pretty significant run. He had another error in the eighth inning that nearly allowed the Padres to break the game open.
- Clayton Kershaw was good but not great. He generated 13 swing-and-misses and struck out six with zero walks, but allowed three runs on six hits.
- Yency Almonte and Tommy Kahnle looked fantastic. Almonte struck out three in a scoreless inning while Kahnle struck out the side on only 10 pitches.
The series is now tied 1-1, with Game 3 in San Diego on Friday night. The Dodgers will turn to Tony Gonsolin, who isn’t quite built up enough. My guess is that this will turn into a bullpen game unless the Dodgers get creative. Blake Snell goes for the Padres.
Not that it is a make-or-break game, but the Dodgers need to win on Friday. They can’t fall behind the series 2-1 with Joe Musgrove on the mound on Saturday.
Hopefully for the Dodgers’ sake they can record a hit with runners in scoring position. If they’re able to do that, they likely will win the game.