Dodgers collapse after hot start as Padres win, 11-8

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dodger bats go quiet and Padres come back late to take game one of series.

LOS ANGELES – After going up by five runs in the middle of the game, the Dodgers blew a five run lead to the Padres in a late inning rout.

The offense came out hot, and by the third inning, the score was 7-2. It looked like a rout in favor of the Dodgers after a Max Muncy home run, Chris Taylor RBI single, and Mookie Betts two-run double. After that inning, the bats went quiet and the Padres started to climb back in the game due to a couple of Manny Machado home runs. 

Gavin Stone took the mound for the Dodgers and continued the trend of underwhelming starting pitching lately. Stone has always struggled at the big league level and in my opinion, still isn’t ready to compete with the Dodgers. He went 5 ⅓ innings, giving up nine hits, seven earned runs and two home runs. I understand the idea of eating innings, but if it is at the peril of giving up a plethora of runs, then I see no point in using that logic.

The game was tied in the ninth after the Padres came all the way back to tie the game in the sixth, when one of the Dodgers’ best arms in Evan Phillips came to the mound. Trent Grisham reached on an inexcusable dropped fly ball when Chris Taylor and James Outman had a miscommunication and collided to let the ball fall. 

After that mishap, the floodgates opened, with Ha-Seong Kim bunting to move the runner over and Fernando Tatis hitting an infield single. Then came Juan Soto, who battled until driving a three-run home run to the right field seats to give the Padres their first lead since the first inning. After that, Xander Boagerts snuck a ball right around the right field foul pole to add to the lead and put the game away for good. 

Although the Dodgers brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth off of Josh Hader, their rally fell short and the ball game ended at 11-8.

The Dodgers are now 87-56 and 12 ½  games up in the National League West.

Here are my three takeaways:

I Am Not Confident In The Starting Pitching 

Evan Phillips has been a lockdown reliever all year and he was bound to slip up sooner or later once teams got to his pitches, so I cannot put the blame on him. But there is a serious issue with starting pitching regardless of how far ahead in the standings you are. The Dodgers are going to be one of the first teams to clinch their division eventually and are far ahead in the standings, but there are two arms that I trust fully in a postseason setting. Bobby Miller and Clayton Kershaw are the two, but Ryan Pepiot has certainly thrown his name into the conversation. Outside of that, there is nobody that you can point to and say with confidence that they will get the job done, and that might be a major issue in October. 

Offense Scores Early But Fades  

Like I mentioned earlier, the Dodgers were on track for a route after taking a commanding 7-2 lead. The Dodgers put fourteen balls in play against Padres starter Pedro Avila and eight of them were categorized as “hard-hit balls.” After that, the offense went silent until the bottom of the ninth where they accumulated some base-runners and a run off of Josh Hader. I hope this isn’t the same trend that we saw against these Padres in the 2022 NLDS, because hitting with RISP has been an issue as of late…

Shelby Miller Has Been Dominant 

Miller put up another zero for the Dodgers on Monday night. Since returning from the injured list on August 31st, he has allowed two baserunners in total and zero runs in five appearances. Miller was excellent prior to the injury as well, but having that type of arm in the middle of the bullpen is going to be huge in the postseason, especially with the status of the starting pitching.

The Dodgers will send Lance Lynn to the mound to face Michael Wacha. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM PST on Freddie Freeman jersey giveaway night..