It feels as if every game of this series has been a pitcher’s duel, and we got another one Sunday night. The theme of the past two games was the return to form by the top end of the Dodgers’ staff, but Sunday night it was the comeback of Max Scherzer and Bobby Miller for each respective team.
Coming in, Scherzer and Miller both had an ERA of over 4.00 and had not been looking like the dominance we saw from Scherzer in years past and earlier in the year for Miller. Both were working the zone Sunday, but “Mad Max” bested the young Miller going 7 innings and not giving up any runs, completely stifling the Dodgers offense. On the other hand, the young Dodger arm held the Mets’ offense to a single run over 4 ⅔ innings.
The offenses for both teams were dormant for a majority of the game, except for a Starling Marte groundout in the 5th, and a Mookie Betts single in the 8th to tie the game. Nobody on either team had a multi-hit game, and for a team in the Dodgers that had been scorching hot lately, Scherzer and the Mets did an excellent job of preventing rallies and getting out of jams.
Both bullpens stifled each other for the rest of the game after the starters came out until the 11th where the Mets took advantage of a wasted opportunity by the Dodgers in the top half of the inning to bring a run in. Luis Guillorme came on to pinch hit and after two failed bunt attempts, looked like he was in deep trouble. The next pitch he doubled down the right field line to bring in the winning run and walk off the Dodgers in a hard fought game.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Dodgers Escape With Series Win
Although it wasn’t easy, the Dodgers came out of this highly anticipated matchup with the Mets with a series victory. It is imperative that this team racks up as many wins as they possibly can while they play top talent, and the next series against Baltimore will be their toughest series in a long time. Each game in this Mets series was pretty close throughout a majority of each game with the Dodgers prevailing in each, but in this next series there needs to be a better sense of urgency from the offense. The Orioles are one of the top teams in the American League and it will definitely be a packed crowd for each game. These are the type of games that will prepare you for the playoffs.
Max Muncy Continues to Struggle
It has been a frustrating season for Max Muncy and his struggles continued Sunday night. Another 0 hit game has lowered his average to .193 and it seems as if he is in a daze at the plate. There have been multiple instances where he comes up with the opportunity to produce with RISP, but he comes up empty. On the defensive side, he has been decent enough to stay in the lineup, and the power is still there, but the approach has not changed. If the Dodgers want to make a deep run or even get into the playoffs, they are going to need their top paid and top of the lineup guys to produce when it counts. Coming off of an elbow surgery two years ago, he is fully healthy at this point as far as we know so it seems to point to a deeper issue with approach. So far, I have not seen any change from Muncy, but I know he still has it in there. Maybe a tweak in his stance or load can get him going, and I believe that in-season adjustments can work for hitters.
The Austin Barnes Era Has To End
Austin Barnes is now 4 for his last 113 and it does not seem as if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, you read that right. He has become a complete liability on offense and isn’t making up for it on the defensive end either. The message from the coaching staff and the front office has been that “he works well with our pitchers,” and to be quite honest, you can find many catchers to get familiar with your staff. It is more frustrating when you know that there is a top prospect in Diego Cartaya waiting in the minor leagues, who by all accounts is the real deal down there. Dodger fans’ frustrations are boiling over and it has become a topic of discussion amongst social media platforms. Backup catchers may not seem like a crucial position, but for how many times the team lets Will Smith DH or take days off, a change is needed immediately.
Emmett Sheehan takes the mound for the Dodgers against Grayson Rodriguez of the Orioles Monday. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. PT.