The Dodgers used their bats, arms and gloves in order to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. The Dodgers found themselves smack dab in the middle of Andrew Friedman’s old stomping grounds for a quick two-game interleague series. Tampa Bay is one of the better teams in the American League and the Dodgers disposed of them quickly and efficiently.
The game wasn’t without its drama. The Dodgers were leading by six runs in the bottom of the seventh. Clayton Kershaw was firing on all cylinders and had not allowed a run. Up until that point the Dodgers were cruising. But Kershaw allowed two hits and with runners on second and third with one out and 97 pitches the Dodgers removed him. Pedro Baez came in and that’s where things got scary.
Not because of Baez’s pitching, but because he took a screaming line drive off of his leg from the bat of Willy Adames. Baez had to be helped off the field and we later learned that he suffered a contusion. How long he’ll be out for remains to be seen. The other relievers (Scott Alexander, Dylan Floro) allowed the Rays to plate three runs in that frame allowing Tampa to get a look at the game, although briefly.
Dodgers 7 12 0
Rays 3 10 1
But let’s focus on the positives. The Dodgers cranked out seven runs on 12 hits and drew five walks. The Dodger bats scored three two-out runs in the top of the seventh. There were RBI singles from Justin Turner, Austin Barnes, Enrique Hernandez, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson in a well balanced attack. Joc provided an RBI double in the top of the ninth for a nice insurance run. The two-out approaches are much improved from last year.
Kershaw wasn’t vintage Kershaw but turned in a quality effort. The generational ace allowed two earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out eight over 6.1 innings pitched. Kershaw earned the win and is now 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA this season. The Rays didn’t have a runner in scoring position until the sixth inning.
The Dodgers had some help in the field as well. Alex Verdugo made a fantastic throw to Corey Seager at third base to nail Kevin Kiermaier trying to stretch a double into a triple. The laser throw was on the money and Seager’s sweeping leg tag was terrific. Verdugo then did a little dance to celebrate. Wonderful!
Alex. VerduNO. pic.twitter.com/6yXrMkFKHq
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 22, 2019
On a side note, the Rays used an opener for this one. They’ve done this now 14 times already this season. You all know how I feel about that. It’s stupid. Unless there is some emergency, injury of some kind then there is no reason to do something illogical and burn through most of your bullpen for one game. For the record Hunter Wood allowed one unearned run on two hits over two frames. Then Jalen Beeks allowed five earned runs on eight hits over 4.2 innings. Starting pitching is still the name of the game folks, and those who have it will win. Those who don’t well…….You can’t reinvent the game. Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday’s series finale before the club moves on to Pittsburgh for the weekend.