It might not be time for a general panic about the Dodgers as a team, but boy, oh boy, there are certainly causes for concern that are starting to sprout up from a variety of angles.
The day began with an odd afternoon start time (4 pm PST) and the expected strong start from Clayton Kershaw – and things went south from there. Kershaw struck out the Marlins to begin the first inning of the rubber match, and then he lost his command, walking a career-high six batters. Luckily, he found just enough gas in the can to keep the Fish off the scoreboard through the first half of the game despite his inability to keep them off the bases.
The bigger trouble was – as it’s been all season – the sparkless, hitless offense. Marlins starter, Trevor Rojas, dominated the Dodgers. Rojas kept them scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out ten over the first 4 2/3 innings.
Kershaw had two quick outs in the top of the 5th, and then the wheels came off the Dodgers’ little blue cart. Kershaw walked the next two batters and served up a three-run homer to Miguel Rojas – the newest Dodger killer in town. Daniel Hudson replaced Kershaw in the 6th, and he gave up the first of J.T. Realmuto‘s two home runs on the night. The score was 4-0 Marlins, and the crowd had that “oh no, not again” feeling.
The Dodgers finally scored in the bottom of the sixth on a Joc Pederson RBI single. Things were calm until the 8th, when Scott Alexander came in to pitch. He quickly gave up a single and Realmuto’s second home run of the night. The Dodgers were down 6-1 and it felt like a grave that was too deep for this Dodgers squad to dig its way out of.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers responded with a two-out, short and sweet rally. Cody Bellinger doubled and Matt Kemp followed that with a two-run blast of his own. It was Kemp’s fourth homer of the year and the Dodgers were seemingly getting up from the ground. The score was now 6-3.
And then the circus came to town.
Last night manager Dave Roberts would not send his closer into the ninth inning of a tie game, and for equally head-shaking reasons, he decided to send Kenley Jansen into this ninth inning, with the team behind by three runs. Jansen got a quick fly out and then Corey Seager‘s throwing error allowed a runner. Replays showed the then ball caromed off the pitcher’s mound at an unexpected angle, and that could have caused Seager to have to readjust and throw on the fly. Nevertheless, a man was on.
Jansen struck out the next batter for the second out and then gave up a single. That was a fly ball that Seager chased into CF, and then he suddenly decided to stop chasing, but he fell back awkwardly, giving everyone a scare that he might be injured. After a stolen second base, Chase Utley committed a throwing error and two Marlins scored to bring their lead back up to 8-3. Things looked bleak heading into the bottom of the ninth.
It wasn’t all a disaster as Enrique Hernandez tripled to open the inning.
Kike came home to score on Kyle Farmer’s PH ground out. Corey Seager showed no ill effects from his fall and singled. Then Yasmani Grandal stepped up and launched a home run of his own to bring the Dodgers within two.
Unfortunately, the damage was too great, and six runs weren’t enough. The Marlins beat the Dodgers 8-6, and leave behind a bewildered Dodgers team that just can’t get any traction going. And no, it’s no longer “early”.