The Dodgers offense went dormant just long enough for late-inning heroics
The story entering the game was all about Julio Urias, who made his Dodger stadium debut after two rough road starts in New York and Chicago.
Urias needed 25 pitches to get out of the first inning, but he did so without allowing a run. He threw a perfect and quick second inning, but labored once again in the third and gave up an RBI double to Nolan Arenado. After another long but scoreless inning in the fourth, Urias was pulled with 86 pitches. He had never thrown more than 89 pitches in a start in the minors, so getting him out with a lead and on a good note was nice to see.
This was mostly the best Urias has looked all season. He gave up more solid contact than in previous starts, but he didn’t get bloop singled to death. He doubled his strikeout total for the season with seven punchouts today, but the Rockies fouled 19 pitches off against Urias, 14 of which came in his final two innings. Despite the seven strikeouts, he struggled at times to finish off batters, which drove his pitch count up. Overall it was the best showing he’s had in his three starts and it was good to see him throwing well at Dodger Stadium.
Urias pitched a bit more freely in this game, which might be due to the fact that for the first time in his career, the Dodgers gave him a lead. Eddie Butler walked the first two batters of the game, and Justin Turner crushed a pitch into the left field bleachers to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead three batters into the game. Adrian Gonzalez followed that with a single and Trayce Thompson walked, so Butler didn’t record an out until the sixth batter of the game. But, because they’re the Dodgers, Joc Pederson chopped into a fielders’ choice and Howie Kendrick lined into a double play to end the threat.
Also, again because they’re the Dodgers, Butler settled down nicely after that. After a 29-pitch first inning, Butler faced the minimum in the next five innings, thanks in part to three double plays. If you would have told me after that first inning that Butler would outlast Urias, I would have laughed at you. But here we are. Butler finished with the minimum for a quality start, as he allowed three runs in six innings. Again, the pitching hasn’t been the issue for the Dodgers this season. The offense has been so inconsistent (or consistently bad).
Urias was relieved in the fifth inning by Louis Coleman, who instantly got in trouble. After a leadoff walk and a failed bunt turned fielders’ choice, Coleman allowed a ground rule double and another walk to load the bases for destroyer of dreams and pitches Nolan Arenado. Coleman got Arenado to pop up, and Adam Liberatore came in to strike Carlos Gonzalez out and end the threat.
Joe Blanton threw a scoreless sixth inning, and the former starter came back out for the seventh and was greeted with a pinch hit home run by Daniel Descalso, who is apparently still in the league. After recording an out and allowing a single, Blanton got Arenado to pop up to shallow center. Corey Seager made a great over-the-shoulder catch for the second out, but tried to get the runner at first, and it got past Gonzalez, Blanton and Yasmani Grandal. With the runner moved up to third, Pedro Baez came in gave up a rocket ground ball to Gonzalez. Chase Utley got in front of it, but it trickled off his glove and the game was tied.
The offense was awful and the bullpen was iffy, but Trayce Thompson hit his second walk-off home run of the season with two outs in the ninth to save us all from extra innings. Todd Frazier‘s power would be nice, but Thompson has been phenomenal, Frankie Montas could be huge, and Micah Johnson could be something. Reminder that the Dodgers gave up Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler for those three.
In more good news, the Red Sox beat the Giants in extras, so the Dodgers only trail San Francisco by three games.
Kenta Maeda gets the ball tomorrow against Chris Rusin at 7:10 as the Dodgers look to win the series before heading up to San Francisco. Maeda needs a deep outing tomorrow, as Blanton and Baez each threw more than 25 pitches today. With an off day Thursday they could possibly be available, but after short outings by Urias and Mike Bolsinger, Maeda could help out a lot by tossing six or seven.