The Dodgers made this one closer, but dropped game two against the Padres.
The Dodgers don’t have much to play for right now. Home field advantage would be nice, but isn’t necessary. At least that’s how I’m justifying this, as the Dodgers lost their second straight game against the Padres.
Jose De Leon had his final audition of the season and it did not go well. Corey Seager didn’t help in the first, as his error allowed leadoff hitter Manuel Margot to reach base. A walk and a single loaded the bases, and Hunter Renfroe singled in a pair of runs. Alex Dickerson was thrown out at third, which was big as Ryan Schimpf doubled in Renfroe.
JDL hit the opposing pitcher in the second, but got a pair of lineouts and a popout for a clean inning. However, he walked Dickerson again in the third, and Renfroe hit a towering homer. After another walk, De Leon was pulled.
His final line wasn’t pretty. JDL allowed five runs in 2.1 innings with four hits, three walks and only one strikeout. If he had a shot at the fourth starter spot in the postseason, that’s looking more unlikely now.
The most unfortunate thing about De Leon’s struggles was that the offense gifted him an early lead. Chase Utley hit Luis Perdomo‘s fourth pitch of the game into the left field bleachers. After a pair of groundouts, Adrian Gonzalez followed suit with his 18th homer of the season.
Gonzalez tacked on another RBI in the third. After Seager reached on an infield single, Gonzo doubled to right-center and Seager scored from first.
The offense kept it going in the fourth, as Andrew Toles knocked a one-out single. Joc Pederson came up and socked his 25th homer of the season to momentarily tie the game at five. He joins Seager, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal as Dodgers with more than 25 dingers this season. After a rough end to last season, Pederson is looking like a legit long-term centerfielder.
The offense went quietly after the fourth. The Padres bullpen, which is definitely not their strength, held the Dodgers to two baserunners over the final four innings. The Dodgers threatened in the ninth after a bunt single and sac fly put a runner on second with one out, but Pederson and Andre Ethier each struck out to end the game.
Josh Ravin inherited a runner with one out in the third. He threw a wild pitch to move the runner to second, but got a strikeout and a popout to end the inning.
Ross Stripling came on in long relief and got burned by the Dodgers’ defense again. Margot doubled and stole third, but Grandal’s throw beat him there on the steal. Howie Kendrick started at third for Turner, and he couldn’t get the tag down and gave Margot an extra base. That was cashed in immediately on a groundout.
Stripling rebounded to complete three innings and get the Dodgers to the seventh. Unless Joe Blanton tosses 21 innings this week, Stripling will finish the season with the fourth-most innings pitched by a Dodger. He might not be a household name, but Stripling is a huge reason the Dodgers are in first place right now.
Jesse Chavez continued his case for a playoff roster spot with a clean seventh inning. He faced the minimum, as he erased a leadoff single with an inning-ending double play.
Luis Avilan allowed an infield single, but got through his 10th consecutive scoreless inning in the eighth. He’s getting close to being a lock for the postseason.
The Dodgers failed to take advantage of Mother Nature, as the Nationals lost in a rain-shortened game against the Diamondbacks. This keeps the Nationals two games up on the Dodgers for home field in the NLDS. The Nats and Dodgers have eight combined games remaining, and six of those eight outcomes have to go in the Dodgers’ favor for home field (Dodgers win or Nationals loss).
It’s easy to get frustrated with these games, but I’m definitely in Coors Field “as long as no one gets hurt I don’t care about the score” mode. I would very much like for this Dodger team to win more games than they have in recent years, but health and knowing which 25 players give you the best chance to win in October is more important than wins right now. Andrew Toles left the game in the ninth after what looked like a hamstring/cramp, so that’s concerning. It potentially opens the door for Ethier to make the postseason roster, which I wouldn’t classify as a good thing.
The Dodgers look to avoid getting swept tomorrow in their final meeting with the Padres this season. Julio Urias will get his fourth starter audition for the Dodgers, Christian Friedrich starts for the Padres. He is a lefty, so..