Rockies defeat sluggish Dodgers behind excellent pitching

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado stymies the Dodgers offense as stars go cold at the plate in the first game back home after a six-game road trip.

Veteran left-hander Dakota Hudson gave up four hits and one run over seven innings, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 victory over the the Dodgers on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

It was the Dodgers’ first home game after a six-game road trip. Hudson methodically navigated the Dodgers’ lineup, striking out three and playing to contact. According to Patrick Lyons on X, he is the first player in baseball history to retire three MVP’s in order to start a game and not allow a base hit or walk to any of them. 

The Dodgers (36-23) were out of sorts all night and the biggest rally of the night was thwarted by the Rockies in the eighth inning. After loading the bases with nobody out, the Dodgers scored one run with the top of the order at the plate, their only run of the night.

As much as the offense was deflating, the pitching was not much better. Starter Walker Buehler was in immediate trouble, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning.

It did not get much better after that as Buehler allowed three earned runs — including a home run —and walked four in six innings.

Although he had a rough outing, giving the team six innings was crucial, and Anthony Banda, Yohan Ramirez and Alex Vesia kept the Rockies at four runs. 

Here are the takeaways:

Offense struggles mightily

Apart from a sweep of the Mets, the Dodgers’ hitting has been disappointing. The top six in the order went 1 for 22. The bottom of the order, which has been a topic of conversation for the past month, was 4 for 8 on Friday.

 Either the top of the lineup produces at a high level or the bottom of the order comes through, but it seems that as of late, the Dodgers cannot get both to produce together. 

While it is early June, there have been some signs of regression from a potent Dodgers lineup. 

Buehler has setback

Buehler looked to be on the right path to coming back from his two-year absence after Tommy John surgery. But on Friday he slipped up with command, allowing the Rockies to capitalize on loaded base paths.  

That said, he reached 97 mph on his fastball, which seemed unthinkable after such a long layoff. He also got out of a bases-loaded situation in the first, which shows his mental capacity to get through tough moments is still there. 

If he continues to improve on his command, Buehler remain a key piece of the rotation.

Phillips returns from IL

After a near month absence with a hamstring injury, Evan Phillips was activated off of the injured list. He was out since May 3rd and has a near-perfect 0.66 ERA this season.

Elieser Hernandez was designated for assignment, so this swap in the bullpen is a huge upgrade for a Dodgers bullpen that ranks among the best in baseball (4th in bullpen ERA in the MLB).

The Dodgers look to bounce back at 7:10 p.m. Saturday with right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto (5-2, 3.51 ERA) getting the start against Rockies right-hander Cal Quantrill (4-3, 3.53).