The Dodgers have to settle for a series split as Tampa Bay used the longball to win the final game of the two-game series.
So this game will probably fuel the anti- Alex Wood crowd, but his outing seemed way better than the numbers show. He gave up a homer in the first to Brandon Guyer and a homer in the fourth to Steven Souza Jr., both of which were solo shots. He retired nine straight in between those two homers and had seven strikeouts in five innings. In the sixth, Guyer hit a leadoff single and Charlie Culberson failed to make a tough throw on a chopper, resulting in an error and two on with no outs. Of course, after the error, Steve Pearce hit a three run shot to put the Rays up and chase Wood from the game.
Drew Smyly also seemingly pitched better than his numbers showed. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced and kept the Dodgers off the board for the first three innings, but the Dodgers got one in the fourth on a Yasmani Grandal single/TOOTBLAN. He had a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but allowed back-to-back singles to leadoff the inning and was pulled for Erasmo Ramirez, who got three groundouts, but allowed a walk and a wild pitch to tie the game.
That tie was shortlived as the Rays took the lead in the bottom of the inning on Pearce’s homer. Curt Casali came into the series with a .146/.180/.250 slash and one home run, but homered in both of the games against the Dodgers (including today in the seventh against Pedro Baez). Baez had a rough outing, but I’d rather him get those out of the way when they’re down three than when they’re up one. Unfortunately, the Dodgers did threaten in the eighth and got a couple runs back. Who knows how the game would have gone had Baez not turned a three run deficit into a six run deficit, but it certainly didn’t help the cause.
Wood made mistakes (as all pitchers do), and judging by this two-game series the Rays are the best team in the world at making opposing pitchers pay for mistakes. They hit six homers in the two games, and none of them were wallscrapers at all. They’ve been one of the worst offensive teams to begin the season, so seeing them put up 13 runs in the two-game series isn’t great, even if it was against the Dodgers’ two worst statistical starters.
Wood was great until he wasn’t, but that gives him four pretty bad starts on the season. He shows a lot of promise and flashes of dominance, but just can’t seem to hold it together on the road. I still personally think it’s way too early, but seeing Jose De Leon and Julio Urias dominating in the minors has to make a rotation shift at least a possibility.
Still though, the Dodgers won a game they were supposed to win and lost to a very underrated pitcher in Smyly. They showed more life and promise at the plate in these two games than they did all last week. The Dodgers will win more often than not when they score five, so to me, it’s more promising to see the offense show up than it is concerning that the pitching is struggling.
The Astroturf tour continues Friday when the Dodgers travel up to the six for a three game set against the Blue Jays. Prepare yourself for Drake references. You have all been warned.