So the Braves snapped the Dodger’s winning streak again. They did that on the last home stand when the Dodgers had won 11 in a row. On Wednesday evening the Dodgers were looking for their third ten game winning streak of the season and all that stood in their way was the Braves and Julio Teheran.
But when you are 44 games above .500, and have a 15 game lead in your division you can afford to experiment and throw away a game no matter how annoying it is. So when I heard that Brock Stewart’s name was announced as starting pitcher I knew they would probably lose. It’s not that Stewart is terrible mind you. He’s been fine when pitching out of the bullpen, but when he starts he’s been atrocious. That makes me believe that Brock Stewart is just not a starting pitcher. I tried to back this up in the pregame with some numbers for you.
Dodgers 3 6 0
Braves 5 9 0
Stewart as a starting pitcher-
2-2 5.53 ERA .861 OPS against, .303 BAA 7 home runs allowed. 25 K/9BB 25.2 IP
Stewart as a reliever –
0-0 0.53 ERA .399 OPS against, .145 BAA, 12 K/7BB 17.0 IP
Just look at those numbers gosh darnit. Perhaps Stewart is just not a starter. I mean when you have a “starter” that can’t pitch more than 4 or 5 innings ever, then more than likely he’s not a starting pitcher. No shame in that so just put the guy in the bullpen and stop using him in that way. But again the Dodgers are so far ahead they figured…..hey why not? So they shrugged their shoulders and sent him out for his second start of the season.
Unfortunately my theory was correct and Stewart was unable to pitch past the fourth inning. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and walked three (66 pitches) over four mediocre frames as the Braves snapped the Dodger’s nine-game winning streak with a 5-3 win. I get it. It’s just one game and the Dodgers can’t win them all, but Stewart should never ever start another MLB game unless it’s September and the Dodgers have already clinched everything.
Of course the Dodgers going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position didn’t help poor Brock. The Dodgers collected just six hits on the night, and only two were for extra bases. The Braves were looking to snap their six game losing streak and hoping for a rebound start from Teheran. He’s had a miserable season and the Dodgers knocked him around the last time they faced him at Dodger Stadium. He’s given up 25 home runs before tonight and leads the National League in that category.
The bats just never could get going against Teheran who tossed five innings and allowed just three earned runs on four hits while striking out four. Teheran had to leave the game after the fifth because of cramping in his legs. Brock Stewart developed pitching deep into game cramping though. So there’s that.
Anyways, the Dodgers did have the lead early in the second inning when Cody Bellinger slugged his 30th home run of the season. Bellinger is now the third fastest player to reach 30 home runs in MLB history. So I think he might work out for the Dodgers.
The Braves scored twice immediately in the bottom of the second thanks to Stewart’s mediocre pitching. Danny Santana’s two-run home run put the Barves, I mean Braves ahead by a 2-1 score. The Dodgers tied the score in the top of the fourth. Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch and then stole second. More great base-running from Taylor helped the Dodgers tie the game when he advanced to third on a Bellinger fly to right. The Nick Markakis throw was on the money, but Taylor slid underneath the tag. Replays confirmed the correct call and Taylor would score on a Joc Pederson grounder.
The Dodgers would retake the lead in the top of the fifth. Yasiel Puig doubled to right and Chase Utley’s single into left would score Puig to put the Dodgers up 3-2. Utley was tagged out trying to advance to second on the throw. So we’ll never know if the Dodgers would have gotten more.
The Braves immediately tied the score again in the bottom of the fifth. There was an Ender Inciarte single, a botched double play grounder, and Freddie Freeman’s RBI single tied the game at 3-3. Sigh.
The Atlanta bullpen kept the Dodgers at bay for the rest of the night. Sam Freeman relieved Teheran in the sixth and tossed a scoreless frame. Of course former Dodger Jim Johnson who was somehow reanimated from the grave to torture the boys in blue entered in the top of the seventh.
In that inning Forsythe walked and Yasmani Grandal singled, but Puig whiffed. Justin Turner flied to right and Rex Brothers got Kike to strike out to end the inning and the Dodgers couldn’t score. Wow. I can’t remember the last time that happened.
The Braves almost scored in the bottom of the seventh, but a stupid base running blunder ran them out of the inning. Luis Avilan gave up a two-out walk, (Baez would do the same in the following frame) and then walks another hitter. With Freeman and Suzuki aboard, Markakis deflects a single off of Avilan’s foot. Freeman tried to score, and I’m guessing he ran through a stop sign because he was thrown out by a good 20 feet. Forsythe making a great diving stop to keep the ball in the infield threw him out.
After the Dodgers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Pedro Baez took the mound in the bottom half of the eighth. Like Avilan he gave up a two-out walk Johan Camargo. Then he hung a slider and Tyler Flowers took him deep to right to give the Braves a 5-3 lead.
I DO NOT LIKE TWO-OUT WALKS…….ARRRRRGHHHHH
With the tie securely blown Arodys Vizcaino tossed a perfect ninth inning striking out Grandal to end the game. The Dodgers……lose?!?!
Yes, the Dodgers actually lost a game. The Dodgers now fall to 75-32 and are now only 14 games ahead of Arizona in the NL West. The Dodgers and Braves play the rubber game on Thursday afternoon. Alex Wood will take the mound against fellow southpaw Sean Newcomb.
Game analysis: I believe Baez deserved this loss…..whole heartily
Silver Lining: Yu Darvish tossed a bullpen session in preparation for his Dodger debut on Friday. YU-tastic!