The Dodgers and Jays found themselves in a pitchers’ duel, but Toronto’s offense broke out late against the Dodger pen.
The first five innings of Friday night’s game was a pure pitchers’ duel, as neither team could get much going offensively. Marcus Stroman was phenomenal for the Blue Jays, and Kenta Maeda was very good once again.
I was a bit concerned about Maeda going into this game. He’s been phenomenal early on, but this is easily the deepest lineup he’s had to face and I was pretty certain the Jays were going to light him up. For the first time in my life, I was wrong, as Maeda turned in yet another great start. The only real issue he had was with his walks. He entered the game with six walks in five starts this season, but issued four to the Jays. Two of them came to Josh Donaldson, and I’d much rather Maeda walk him than give him anything to hit.
Old friend Darwin Barney knocked a hit down the first base line and tried to stretch it to a double. You would think that an old friend would know not to test Yasiel Puig. Barney tested Puig. Barney did not reach second safely.
"When will they learn?"
The Jays finally got to Maeda in the sixth, after his second walk to Donaldson. Maeda hung a slider to Jose Bautista, and let’s just say Rangers’ reliever Sam Dyson probably thought that result looked familiar.
Stroman was dealing, as the Dodgers literally didn’t hit a ball in the air through six innings. He got two quick outs in the seventh, but Joc Pederson and Carl Crawford hit back-to-back doubles and Chase Utley knocked a single to tie the game.
The Dodgers wiggled out of the bottom of the seventh after Louis Coleman got the first two outs rather easily. Adam Liberatore came in for the final out, but faced three batters and put them all on. He was pulled for Joe Blanton, who threw one pitch and got Donaldson to foul out to end the threat. However, Blanton was not as affective in the eighth. He gave up a one-out double to Encarnacion and intentionally walked Justin Smoak to set up a double play and face a righty. Kevin Pillar was down in the count and Blanton honestly threw a good low fastball, but Pillar lined it over the wall in left for a 5-2 lead.
Blanton had been excellent for the Dodgers before this game and his outing was rather strange. His pitch to Donaldson to get out of the seventh missed its location badly, but it worked. His pitch to Encarnacion was a mistake that got drilled. His pitch to Pillar was a really good pitch, but it lost the game for the Dodgers. That’s baseball. The Dodgers even loaded the bases in the ninth, but couldn’t score.
I’m quite a bit more concerned about the offense than I am the pitching. Justin Turner had a couple hits and Howie Kendrick continued to look much better at the plate so that’s promising. However, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Corey Seager do not look good at the dish at all. It’s not even like they’re squaring the ball up and getting unlucky (save for Seager’s last AB), they’re missing hittable pitches and not making pitchers pay for mistakes. Hopefully it’s just the three of them going cold at the same time, but they really need to get it going. For all the anti-Crawford and Pederson takes there are, those other three are struggling as well and they absolutely can’t afford to struggle.
The Dodgers are back under .500 and that’s no fun, but they’re still right there with the rest of the division. They just need to keep pace and hope their depth can push them over the top in the dog days of summer. It’s still much too early to worry, but it’s surely getting annoying. At least Clayton Kershaw gets the ball tomorrow.