Dodgers lineup struggles to capitalize in second straight loss to Mets

Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles failed to come through late in the game as they lost their seventh of the last nine.

LOS ANGELES — A 2-for-12 day with runners in scoring position left the Dodgers struggling to keep up with the Mets on Saturday afternoon.

Starter Gavin Stone pitched through the first 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs and walking five as New York took the early lead. Starling Marte made Los Angeles pay especially as he went 2-4 with a big three-run homer in the sixth inning that put the Mets back on top 5-2.

For New York, Jose Butto got the start and worked around trouble all day long as he pitched through 4.1 innings of two-run baseball on 90 pitches. Just like Stone, he also managed to walk five batters during the start.

Freddie Freeman managed to get the Dodgers within a run in the bottom half of the sixth as he delivered a two-run single. However, Los Angeles failed to score a run against Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out. New York hung on for their sixth win in a row and their second of the series.

Here are three takeaways:

Dodgers fail to capitalize on 10 walks

Mets pitchers showed a lack of control on Saturday as they delivered their most walks in a win since 2014. Starter Jose Butto was forced to labor through the majority of his outing, with Los Angeles immediately jumping on him in the bottom of the first. After Freddie Freeman got the scoring started with an RBI single, Max Muncy walked to load the bases up. Butto managed to strike him out along with Andy Pages to get out of the jam and limit the damage to just one run.

In the second, Butto would once again load the bases, this time with three consecutive two-out walks. Teoscar Hernandez then struck out to get the 26-year-old through another sticky situation. He did manage to calm down for the next couple of innings before exiting in the middle of the fifth with the Dodgers threatening to score once again.

With the Dodgers already having two runs across in the bottom of the sixth and looking to jump out in front, Max Muncy stepped up to the plate for the team’s fourth bases-loaded at-bat of the game. He also failed to make something out of the situation as Pete Alonso made an athletic play at first base to rob Muncy of a base hit.

With Edwin Diaz once again walking the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Teoscar Hernandez and Max Muncy went down swinging to kill the Los Angeles rally and get them to 2-12 with runners in scoring position during the game. Despite just six hits, the 10 walks gave them plenty of opportunities to come through and take the lead. They failed to do so and ultimately ended up on the losing side of things because of it.

Bottom of the lineup can’t deliver

The three-headed monster of Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman at the top of the Dodger lineup was left to fend for themselves on Saturday.

They managed to combine for 8 of the 10 Los Angeles walks on the day as they reached base 12 times total and provided three of the RBIs. Betts and Ohtani finished 1-2 with three walks each while Freeman went 2-3 and delivered a two-run single in the sixth inning. He also managed to get on base twice via the walk.

As for the rest of the lineup, the production was almost non-existent. The 4-9 spots finished the game at a combined 2-24 rate with 13 strikeouts. Max Muncy, James Outman, Austin Barnes, Teoscar Hernandez and Andy Pages finished the game 0-8 with runners in scoring position. Hernandez struck out on two separate occasions with the bases loaded, while Muncy struck out and grounded out in two bases-loaded chances.

The Dodgers still manage to present the fourth-highest average in the MLB at .258 widely thanks to their top three. However, Los Angeles will need to start seeing more production from everyone else if they want to get out of their recent slump and return to the form that they know is expected of them.

Brasier, Yarbrough struggle in the sixth

Relievers Ryan Yarbrough and Ryan Brasier could not come through in the sixth inning as the Mets reclaimed a three-run lead. It was Yarbrough who opened the inning on the mound and walked the leadoff man before giving up a sacrifice bunt to Omar Narvaez. He then hit the next batter, Brandon Nimmo, and was pulled from the game after 1.1 innings of work.

On came Brasier, who squared off against Starling Marte with runners on first and second. He would allow a monster three-run homer to him as New York reclaimed a three-run lead just a half-inning after the Dodgers managed to tie the game.

Two of the runs were charged to Yarbrough while the third was charged to Brasier. He tossed just seven pitches in the inning, but gave up the key hit that put the Mets back in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the contest. Brasier’s ERA is now up to 5.59 this year.

The four total runs allowed by the Los Angeles bullpen on Saturday tells the story for what has been another area of struggle early in the season. The team bullpen ERA for the Dodgers thus far is 4.40, which is the 12th-worst mark in the league so far. While it could be worse, their third-best mark last season of 3.42 was a big reason for the team’s 100-62 record. If they can figure out how to right the ship that is currently a slow-starting bullpen, it will go a long way toward turning things around in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers and Mets will square off in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The Dodgers will send James Paxton out for his fourth start of the season as they look to avoid a sweep. For the Mets, Adrian Houser will take the mound as he tries to earn his first victory this year.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. PT.