LOS ANGELES — The Fourth of July is all about the fireworks, and there were plenty of them Tuesday night. After a two-run first by the Pirates, the Dodgers scored four unanswered runs led by two home runs by James Outman and Mookie Betts. Then in the 4th inning the Pirates came right back as they did all night and scored 3 runs to take the lead right back, led by Jack Suwinski, Austin Hedges, and Bryan Reynolds. This Pirates team has been in a funk as of late, but they mustered some of that early season energy all game. James Outman homered once again on an absolute bomb to give the Dodgers the lead back in the 4th, but of course, the Pirates came right back and tied it in the 6th on a Henry Davis single.
Things were dormant for a couple of innings until Jonny Deluca came on and played hero, launching a go-ahead solo shot to left to give the Dodgers the lead late in the game. It ignited the crowd, but the Pirates offense exploded in the 9th with a late 3-run rally off of the Dodgers top reliever Evan Phillips. In the bottom of the 9th, there were more theatrics but this time the Pirates sent their top reliever David Bednar to the mound to close out the Dodgers and that he did. After having first and third with 1 out, the bottom of the lineup failed to get even one run across and the game was over in a matter of minutes.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Pitching Lets Down Offense Again
I am running out of words to describe this staff. One night they look like they are back on track and another night they look like they need a major revamp. Tuesday night, Emmett Sheehan wasn’t sharp again, giving up five earned runs over 3 ⅔ innings, but the bullpen followed that up with 4 ⅓ innings of one run ball until the 9th to give the Dodgers a chance and keep them in it. After the Deluca homer, it seemed as if everybody was in good hands, but Evan Phillips had one of his worst outings of the year, giving up three runs in one inning and blowing the save. For a team that needs to string together multiple wins in a row this one hurt, and I know that there is a somber feeling in the locker room. This staff has to be better consistently, not just here and there.
James Outman Shows Off Power
James Outman launched two no-doubters tonight and very much got his power swing back. There was a change in my eyes to his bat path tonight and it looked like Jason Heyward was a part of that, as he gave him a few looks to let him know it looked good. Outman had been doing better recently after a big slump at the plate, and this is the first game we have seen his power ability flexed. If he can get this part of his game back, there will be more optimism for this lineup after the All-Star break.
Sheehan Struggles Again
After an excellent debut, Emmett Sheehan has had his struggles over his last two starts, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in Colorado and now five earned runs in 3 ⅔ innings Tuesday night. For a pitcher that had a ton of upside and looked like a great project for the Dodgers in a staff that needed help, he has had his rookie mistakes and that is fine. I don’t expect this kid to be dominant at all times much like Bobby Miller, but if he continues to get hit around and have teams figure him out with a more extensive scouting report, the team may look to shorten his innings and move him to the bullpen. I have confidence in his stuff and makeup, and I believe he will be an integral part of the Dodgers staff in the future.
Bobby Miller takes the ball for the Dodgers against Osvaldo Bido for the Pirates Wednesday. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.