The Dodgers returned to Chavez Ravine on Monday evening to play the final two games of the exhibition Freeway series against the Angels and I worry that I’ve completely forgotten how to recap a game. After all it’s been about five months since I’ve done this, but then Rich Hill gives up a bunch of runs in the third inning and I write 600 words about how bad the Dodgers looked. Now I remember how this is done. Oh yes it all comes back to me now.
The Angels defeated the Dodgers 4-1 to even the Freeway Series at one game each. The Dodgers didn’t look good, but let’s talk about the pattern of it all. If you watch enough baseball games season after season you can figure out the patterns. There’s always a strange familiarity to the results of a Dodger loss and I’ve noticed it happening over the last couple of seasons.
The Dodgers can lose in many different ways. They could lose a nail biter or the bats could go cold in a 2-0 pitching duel. They could blow a lead in the ninth inning or a good old fashioned blowout is another possibility. Those types of losses would all suck, no doubt, but there’s nothing more frustrating than how the Dodgers normally lose. They lost that way tonight and I think if the Dodgers let’s say lose 65 games this year; nearly 30-40% of those potential losses would look exactly like this one.
If you squint your eyes extra hard you can spot the patterns I’m talking about here. The starter allows 3-5 runs in the first few innings putting the team in an immediate hole. The offense is unable to catch up changing the plate approaches. Usually the bats get desperate, and throaty when down by multiple runs early. They swing at balls outside the strike zone and look at strikes down the middle of the plate. Generally this results in a ton of weak grounders or strikeouts. If they get any base runners they’re instantly erased with double plays. Usually they collect 3-5 hits in these types of losses.
They’ve actually done this in important games too. Think back to game 6 of the 2016 NLCS when Clayton Kershaw gave up four runs in the first several innings. The club was down 4-0 right away and how many hits did they get? They got two if I remember correctly. Fast forward to game 7 of the World Series last year. Yu Darvish served up 5 runs in the first two frames. The Dodgers got five hits and left a small arsenal of runners on base. They scored one run and never really had a look at the game.
What makes these losses so annoying is that they’re boring. The Dodgers were boring, never getting a chance of getting into the game. I might be overreacting here, but I can’t deny what I see unfold in front of me.
On this night Dodger starter Rich Hill pitched 5 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits, (three were earned runs) he walked none and struck out four. The Angels scored all four of their runs in the third inning before the Dodgers had a chance to settle in. There were two singles from Zack Cozart and Justin Upton. There was a catcher’s interference called on Austin Barnes that loaded the bases. Mike Trout’s bat swing deflected off of Barnes’ glove. The play was scary since Barnes could have been severely injured. Thankfully he was ok and stayed in the game. The big blow was a three-run bases clearing double from Albert Pujols. That was followed by a ground ball RBI single from Andrelton Simmons which was all she wrote. The Dodgers made two other errors in the field as well.
Opposing starter Matt Shoemaker tossed four scoreless innings allowing just two hits. He struck out five while walking only one. The Dodgers got five; count them five hits on the night. The only extra-base hits were a Cody Bellinger double that was immediately erased when he was thrown out at third and an Andrew Toles solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers left four runners on base.
You could probably say that my comparison is unfair since this is a meaningless exhibition game. Let’s not forget that I’m mostly joking around here, trying to have some fun with a boring loss. Then again this looks like a repeat for the west coast crowd. Check that, nobody wants to see these kinds of losses no matter what coast they’re residing from. Anyways the Dodgers finish their exhibition schedule on Tuesday night. We’ll find out what the opening day roster looks like too. Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the nod while the Halos will counter with JC Ramirez. Remember we don’t have to see Madison Bumgarner after he broke his hand on a line drive while pitching against the Royals. Certainly the Dodgers can handle Ty Blach on opening day right? Welcome back Dodgers!