Dodgers' defense helped wreck Yoshinobu Yamamoto's second spring start

Mar 6, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Mar 6, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yoshinobu Yamamoto's final line during his second outing as a Dodger on Wednesday night was...less than ideal. He threw 36 pitches over three innings against the White Sox and gave up six hits, five earned runs, walked three batters, and struck out four. It's a far cry from his almost-perfect two-inning, one hit, three strikeout debut on Feb. 28 and, like anything else, it's already led to overreactions on Twitter.

The Dodgers were down by two by the time Yamamoto's third inning was over, but they still won 12-7, thanks in large part to a Freddie Freeman grand slam in the the fourth. However, the failure reflected in Yamamoto's line and now-9.00 ERA are the story of the game.

But context is king. The Dodgers have been having issues with the left side of their infield, specifically with the defense of Gavin Lux at shortstop and Max Muncy at third. Dave Roberts has brushed off concerns, but if we dig deeper into Yamamoto's second outing, the skipper may actually want to be a little more worried.

Only the first hit Yamamoto gave up, a single to Andrew Benintendi, can fully be considered Yamamoto's fault. The other five, three of which scored four runs, can be attributed to some incredibly shoddy defense from Muncy and Lux, ranging from bad throws to completely missed catches.

Gavin Lux and Max Muncy didn't come through on defense during Yoshinobu Yamamoto's second Dodgers outing

In the bottom of the first, what should've been an easy groundout from Dominic Fletcher to Lux was fielded but spiked on the throw to first base, allowing Fletcher to reach. That out would've marked the end of the inning had the throw made it; instead, it scored Yoán Moncada from third. The very next batter, Paul DeJong, made weak contact back toward the mound, but Yamamoto couldn't get ahold of it. The ball was deflected toward Muncy, whose throw to first took Freeman off the bag.

In the third inning, another bad throw from Lux allowed Eloy Jimenez to reach first. Fletcher then bunted to a defensive wasteland in the infield, much too far from where Muncy was positioned (close to the outfield grass) for him to retrieve it on time. Then, another blunder from Muncy; DeJong hit a line drive Muncy couldn't come up with at third. The ball cruised into left field and two runs scored.

Roberts said that he wasn't interested in evaluating Lux or Muncy with defensive metrics, because he watches every play and he trusts his eyes. Well, yesterday's game wasn't exactly easy on anyone's eyes.

This is far from a call to replace either of them with prospects or NRIs before Opening Day, but the Dodgers need to make sure both shape up before the team heads to Korea in less than two weeks. If the entire left side of the infield continues to be a weakness, teams are going to keep taking advantage of it just like the White Sox did yesterday, and it's going to continue to make the pitchers look bad when they don't deserve to be taking all of the flack.