LOS ANGELES — It seems as if every time I mention the Dodgers have their best win of the year or most complete win of the year, they take a loss the next day.
This was another one of those cases.
Consistency seemed to be coming back as the Dodgers had won 4 in a row coming in after a losing streak of their own right before that, and even though there was a loss on the board today, they should be proud of the way they played this series. Mookie Betts once again got things going with a leadoff home run in the 1st, but the Astros responded with 4 runs in the 2nd and 4th innings with a Jeremy Peña 2 run home run and Jose Abreu 2 run home run to make it 4-1. The game stayed quiet as Tony Gonsolin didn’t have his best stuff and only went 5 innings, giving up 4 earned runs.
His counterpart Hunter Brown did have it tonight though, going 6 innings and only giving up 1 earned run, stifling the Dodgers lineup after the Betts home run. In the 8th, it looked dire for the Dodgers, but with two outs they rallied. Freddie Freeman hit an RBI double, which was his 2000th career base hit, inching the Dodgers closer at 4-2. Right after that, Will Smith came in clutch once again, hitting a game tying 2 run home run to tie it. After two scoreless innings by both teams, we went to extras in this one, and it was a back and forth affair after that.
The Astros immediately got a run on a Corey Julks RBI single, but the Dodgers actually got out of the inning due to bad baserunning by the Astros to keep it a one run game. In the bottom half of the inning, Mookie Betts came about 10 feet from hitting a walk off home run, but settled for a sac fly to tie the game once again at 5-5. Alex Bregman immediately hit a single to give the Astros the lead once again in the top half of the 11th, and the Dodgers could not answer. They got a runner to third but a Miguel Vargas strikeout and David Peralta ground out ended the threat to tie and the Astros held on to win 6-5.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
There Has to Be a Move Made for the Staff
I know I’ve said this for months, but we are getting later and later into the season, and it seems as if there is still a glaring issue with this staff. Sure, they have had a good 4 games over their last 4, but before that stretch they posted one of the worst bullpen ERA’s in the league and once again tonight they failed to help out the offense. I understand that you cannot be lights out every game, but having only 4 straight games of dominance isn’t going to help the team down the stretch. Consistency is the name of the game, and there has to be a move made in some capacity to shake things up before it gets too late.
The Stars are Getting Hot
The Dodgers need their superstars to play like it, and they certainly are. Mookie Betts tallied another home run onto his likely All Star total, and Freddie Freeman, even through his slump this month, is still hitting .317, among the best in the big leagues. That’s a part of the reason that the Dodgers had won 4 in a row against two good offenses. Their offense was led by the two superstars and perennial all star Will Smith even through pitching woes. The Dodgers should be just fine if those 3 can keep up production and the pitching can get even slightly better.
There is Time
Let’s not forget that the 2022 NL Champion Phillies, 2021 World Series champion Braves, and 2019 World Series champion Nationals were all way worse off than this Dodger team. Many requested that those teams blow up their squad and had given up on them, but they ended up making runs to the pennant and even the World Series in 2 cases. There is time, but it is shrinking for this team to improve in the most important facets of the game, mainly pitching, but also timely hitting. While the bottom of the lineup did not produce tonight, they have been in previous games, and a major move or even two will be made to shore up the pitching staff, so there is reason for optimism although not many expect the Dodgers to compete for a title this year. Fans, they will be in the thick of it down the stretch…
The Dodgers have a travel day and then will send Clayton Kershaw out to toe the rubber against Connor Seabold for the Colorado Rockies in Denver Tuesday. The first pitch is set for 5:40 PM PST.