You would think a series against an underperforming Guardians would go smooth and without any hiccups right? Not exactly, as the Dodgers found themselves on the losing end of the series opener in Cleveland due to a late collapse by the bullpen.
Look, at this point the Dodgers are playing with house money with the record they have and the lead they’ve built in the division, but these types of losses still hurt. Bobby Miller was on his game yet again Tuesday night, and gave the Dodgers 6 ⅓ innings of 2 run ball before being relieved by Caleb Ferguson (who inherited two of Miller’s base runners). Miller’s fastball was electric as always and he navigated through the Cleveland lineup to give the Dodger lineup a chance.
Then, disaster struck for the bullpen. Ferguson came in and allowed 5 runs in an enormous rally capped off by former Dodger Kole Calhoun’s 3-run home run to put the Guardians up 8-3 for good. In what seemed like a situation that snowballed, Ferguson just could not miss the Cleveland bats to get out of innings like we are accustomed to see the Dodgers do. Miller’s final line was then pushed to 6 innings, 4 earned runs and a walk with 5 strikeouts.
The Dodger offense started off extremely hot, but then dwindled. It only took the Dodgers 9 pitches to get two runs off of former Dodger Noah Syndergaard, but after that, the offense went 2-19 against him. Mookie Betts (2-3 with 2 runs scored) seemed like the only bright spot aside from Will Smith’s two-run home run in the first inning. I understand that the offense can’t be amazing all of the time, but against an arm that even the Dodgers gave up on, this team is very capable of getting more than 3 runs off of a pitcher with a 6.42 ERA.
The Dodgers are now 76-48 and are still 12 games up in the National League West due to another Giants loss.
Here are my three takeaways:
Bobby Miller Continues To Impress
Miller looked sharp for a good part of this game, and although he took the loss in a tough way, there is a good amount to look forward to. He once again went 6+ innings in a start and has continued to lengthen out as the season goes on. Obviously Miller is not even close to being the pitcher that he wants to be or that he can be in the future, but pumping 100 MPH fastballs past some of the best hitters in the game for 6 or more innings is an excellent start. It was a fantastic start by all accounts for the young right hander, and I look forward to seeing his net start to see how he responds.
This Loss Shows There Is Still Imperfections
Everything has been seen through rose colored glasses as of late with the Dodgers and for good reason. This team is still on a tear and have been one of the best teams in the league since the trade deadline. However, games like Tuesday night show that even though you think you have the advantage and all of the momentum, it can go sideways in a matter of an inning. These are the types of games that can happen in the postseason, and for a team like the Dodgers, who by all accounts will be playing in that part of the season, a loss like this in August to humble them may be a good thing. Sometimes teams get too high over a wining streak and then crash down to Earth afterwards, and in this case, let’s hope a tough loss can spark another win streak.
Blake Treinen Starts Rehab Assignment
The Dodgers announced Tuesday that reliever Blake Treinen was sent to the Arizona Complex League to begin his rehab assignment. This is a crucial step in getting the electric veteran right hander back to the big league club. It is a bit of a surprise to see him get assigned before Walker Buehler, but I am sure he is close behind in that regard. If everything goes well, we could see Treinen back with the Dodgers by mid-September.
Clayton Kershaw toes the rubber for the Dodgers against Xzavion Curry for the Guardians. First pitch is set for 4:10 PM PST.