Dodgers fall just short in back and forth affair, 9-8

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
After an excellent showing by the offense, the Rockies show late life against Dodgers’ bullpen.

Well, we knew that things were going to be fun in Colorado. The Dodgers once again found themselves in a game where they were ahead and had to claw back into it after a few lackluster innings by the bullpen. But, the Rockies were the ones to throw the first punch and build a lead as Harold Castro, C.J. Cron, and Randal Grichuk each singled to make the lead 4-0 after three innings.

Michael Grove was the place starter Wednesday night in a sort of opener role, and gave the Dodgers five decent innings giving up four runs to keep the team within striking distance. Then in the top half of the fourth, the Dodgers exploded against one of the Rockies best starters in Kyle Freeland, scoring 6 times. Jonny Deluca walked, new call up Yonny Hernandez singled to score two, and Mookie Betts then hit a three run home run to take the lead right back from Colorado.

Then things got way out of hand for the Dodgers bullpen as Victor Gonzalez and Nick Robertson came in and combined to surrender five runs to give the Rockies back the lead. Bare with me here. The Dodgers had their own fun in the 8th to cut the deficit to one, as Yonny Hernandez hit a sac fly and Freddie Freeman singled to put the team in striking range. After a clean outing by Phil Bickford, the offense couldn’t muster a rally in the 9th and fell just short 9-8. 

Here are my three takeaways from the game:

Miguel Vargas is Struggling Big Time  

After last year’s September call-up and extended stay with the team in 2022, there were big expectations for Miguel Vargas this year. Granted, he wasn’t even sure he would make the big league squad after Spring Training, but Dodger fans and media knew that he would be their everyday guy at second base. However, the hype has died down at this point, with Vargas hitting .198 and is now 1 for his last 36 and 2 for his last 45. His defense however has been pretty good this year, but with a crucial error tonight it seems the rookie is in his own head. His swing looks different, his approach has changed, and he doesn’t have the confidence he once had in the beginning of the year. I do still believe in him as a young player, but at this point I think Michael Busch is a better fit for the team right now and should get a real chance there moving forward.

David Peralta is Hot

Have I mentioned that David Peralta is swinging a hot bat? I think I have, but he is continuing to put good wood on the ball. He had two hits again tonight and raised his once lowly average to a very solid .273. Look, there is no doubt that Peralta has always been a talented contact hitter, but to Dodger fans’ surprise he is hitting for some power early on too. But, here is the thing: they don’t need him to be a power threat. All along, this lineup needed a guy that can go out there on a consistent basis and spray the ball across the field and pass the baton, and Peralta looks like he is going to fit the bill for the rest of the season. 

Backend Pitching Woes Continue

Nobody is going to have a perfect pitching staff, but the back half of this rotation and bullpen is pretty concerning. The Dodgers didn’t throw their best arms in either facet tonight, and they are playing in a very friendly hitter’s park,  but that shouldn’t be an excuse. The offense supplied the power and run support tonight, and then the bullpen threw it away. As I have said all year, the offense does have the ability to keep them in games, but if the bullpen can’t hold leads like tonight, then the coaching staff and Dodger fans cannot expect this lineup to score 6+ runs per night on a consistent basis. The lineup produced and the staff let them down once again, which doesn’t bode well for a team walking on thin ice already.

The Dodgers will send young Emmett Sheehan to take the mound against Chase Anderson for the Colorado Rockies Thursday. The first pitch is set for 5:40 PM PST.