The starting pitching was almost bailed out one again Saturday night. After a rain delay of over three hours, the Dodgers and Nationals played an extra inning shootout that resulted in a tough Dodger loss.
One of the best remaining starters in the pitching staff is Bobby Miller and he took the mound against Washington looking to right the ship. Unfortunately, it was much of the same for the young right hander as he gave up five earned runs over seven innings and put the offense in another tough spot. This starting pitching staff is in real trouble if one of their best young arms is struggling too.
Lately, this Dodger lineup has been saving the lackluster pitching, but in this one it wasn’t enough to get the job done in extras. The Dodgers rallied in the eighth and ninth due to a two-run home run by Max Muncy and then a Kolten Wong RBI single in the clutch to drive in James Outman. Outman had worked an 11 pitch at-bat to lead off the ninth to spark the comeback.
In extras, Kiké Hernandez came up clutch to give the Dodgers the lead after an excellent job by Brusdar Graterol to hold the Nationals in the bottom of the ninth. Hernandez drove a base hit to right field to drive in James Outman to put the Dodgers ahead for the time being.
Unfortunately, a cold 11th inning on offense doomed them, as the Nationals rallied in the bottom half off of Gus Varland and walked off on a wild pitch.
The Dodgers are now 86-55 and 12 games up in the National League West.
Here are my three takeaways:
Lack of Execution Still An Issue
If the Dodgers want to have success in the postseason, they are going to need to be better when opportunities present themselves. In September, the Dodgers have reverted to the type of execution we saw in the 2022 NLDS. I know I sound like a broken record, but the fact remains: this team needs to be better with runners in scoring position. It is what cost them in the playoffs last year, and the habit has remained early in this month as well. Maybe this team can use some small ball execution to get the job done…
Bobby Miller Roughed Up
Although Miller ate seven innings and struck out eight, he was roughed up in the earned run column. Starting pitching has been a major problem for this team, even before the Julio Urias news and Tony Gonsolin’s surgery. With so many questions surrounding this staff’s ability to get outs early in the game, Miller is looking like the go-to guy, even though Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been placed on the injured list. The young arms are going to have to step up now and in the postseason this year.
New Faces Come Up Clutch
It was Kolten Wong first, who came up clutch with an RBI single to tie the game in the ninth and complete the late inning comeback. After him, in the very next inning, new but familiar face Kiké Hernandez drove in the go-ahead run with a perfect RBI single to right field. Although the Dodgers didn’t get the win, it is a testament to this team’s resiliency and chemistry that new faces can contribute in big ways.
The Dodgers will use a bullpen game Sunday against Trevor Williams for the Nationals. First pitch is set for 10:35 AM PST.