After the first official week of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers can’t figure out how to hit the ball or be consistent. This week the Dodgers traveled to Arizona for the first time hoping to snap their current regular season losing streak against the Diamondbacks, however they couldn’t pull through and win any of the games. While the pitching has still been great for the starters, with exceptions, it is the bullpen that is a bit shaky. In addition to the bullpen, the lineup has yet to get in a groove of scoring runs throughout the whole game instead of in bunches during one inning.
Monday night’s game against the Diamondbacks was started by Hyun-Jin Ryu, making his season debut. That didn’t last long as he only pitched 3.2 innings and couldn’t make it out of the fourth. Ryu’s command was not present as he walked five batters and only struck out two. After Ryu left the game, the list of pitchers after him are as follows: Pedro Baez (who didn’t give up any runs in a bases loaded situation *shocker*), Scott Alexander, Tony Cingrani, JT Chargois, Josh Fields, Kenley Jansen, Ross Stripling and Wilmer Font. The Dodgers used every pitcher in the bullpen while the fifteen inning affair continued. Manager Dave Roberts explained that if it had gone longer, Joc Pederson would’ve been the go to pitcher. I would actually have liked to see how he could do as a pitcher.
The highlight of the bullpen performance was Wilmer Font. Although he took the loss in the game, he came in and pitched a remarkable few innings. Without being properly conditioned to last more than two innings max, Font ended the game throwing 74 pitches and going 4.1 innings with one walk and four strikeouts. His best strikeout in my opinion was when he struck out slugger Paul Goldschmidt on a nasty curveball. Unfortunately, it was the fatigue that got Wilmer Font in the bottom of the fifteenth inning. Letting two runners get on base and then a Jeff Mathis single to score the winning run.
As I said before, the Dodgers can’t catch a break. In the top of the fifteenth, Chase Utley drove in Cody Bellinger from second base and gave the Dodgers the 7-6 lead. When it looked like the Dodgers were going to pull through with this hard fought battle, Font gave up the tying and winning run in the bottom half of the inning. It’s always rough when teams play the length of two games in one but the better team prevailed in this case.
On Tuesday night, the best day of the week had arrived and that would be Kershaw Day. The day that every Dodger and baseball fan looks forward to. We’d all like to see Clayton Kershaw go eight or nine innings with ten or more strikeouts but thats a rare sight to see the past couple seasons. Obviously this is because of his back injuries that he doesn’t want to aggravate again and again but it still is something that fans miss seeing regularly.
After a quiet first inning, Kershaw gave up a solo home run to Daniel Descalso, a hitter that is not known for his power but he sure did crush the ball. Now 1-0, it was the Dodgers turn to score. In the top of the third inning, Chris Taylor scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Barnes. Tie game! Until David Peralta donated a souvenir of his own into the outfield stands in the bottom of the third. Luckily, those were the only runs given up by Kershaw. His final line for the game was: 6.0 IP, two earned runs, one walk and six strikeouts along with four hits. Adding to this line, Kershaw took the loss in the second game of this season. The last time Clayton Kershaw started a season 0-2 was in 2009.
Scott Alexander came into the game and did not perform well whatsoever. Issuing two walks and giving up two hits, Alexander was charged with three earned runs. Alexander did not make it out of the seventh inning. Surprisingly, Pedro Baez came out of the bullpen to finish the inning and did not allow any runs. This is certainly a change from last season when fans would either boo Baez or simply look away in fear. Just like the first game of the series, the Dodgers would lose this game. The final score was 6-1.
Finally we get to the series finale on Wednesday. The Dodgers trying to salvage whatever they can from this three game series and trying not to get swept. The Dodgers sent 2017 breakout pitcher, Alex Wood, to the mound. Wood coming off the best game of his career last Friday, was the hopeful to snap the two game losing streak. Wood started off the game shaky and the velocity on his fastball was down. Putting in all his effort, Alex Wood did manage to go six innings and strikeout five batters. The downside is that he gave up all three of the runs the Diamondbacks scored during the series finale. Only one run was scored via a hit, the other two were scored by a groundout and a sacrifice fly. Nonetheless, the runs were scored. The offense was nowhere to be seen on Wednesday as the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin struck out a career high 12 batters.
Without Justin Turner in the lineup, you can see that the hitters aren’t solid. The consistency of Justin Turner’s bat is a huge role that needs to currently be filled. Puig has been the number three hitter and has been squaring the ball up wonderfully, however he’s hitting it straight to the outfielders. Cody Bellinger has been having a decent week after hitting his first home run and then going 3 for 6 on Monday night’s game. The highlight of the lineup is catcher Yasmani Grandal. He manages to hit the ball and with power. During Monday night’s game, Grandal crushed his first home run of the season! If the one through four hitters can get their consistency down, then the team will be good to go. Taylor and Seager have both been struggling but we all know that they will turn it around, as will the entire team.
This weekend the Dodgers head to San Francisco to play against the Giants. After splitting the series last weekend, let’s hope the right hander Kenta Maeda will have yet another dominant start like he did last Saturday. Tomorrow, Rich Hill will get the nod as he faces Chris Stratton. The upside to these two games is that they are exact rematches of last weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Maybe the Dodgers will manage to score even more runs against these two pitchers! On Sunday, Hyun-Jin Ryu will make his second start of the season and hopefully it’s not as bad as the first.
With all of this being said, and besides the rough start to the season, there is no reason to worry or panic. Over the past few seasons, this problem has always happened in the month of April. The Dodgers play average baseball at best and then out of nowhere they flip the on switch and go on a historic run. Dodger fans need to relax, have a cheeto-lote at Dodger Stadium and enjoy the rest of the season that is to come. This team will be just fine when it is all said and done at the end of this season.