Dodgers Win in Tampa, But Lose Pedro Baez

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

WP-Kershaw-4-0

LP-Wood-1-1

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!

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.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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28 thoughts on “Dodgers Win in Tampa, But Lose Pedro Baez

  1. Verdugo is filling in more than great for Pollack/Puig. He was over aggressive and took a bad route to the ball but made it up with a nice throw.

    Our situational hitting indeed looks improved this year. And several hits today against the shift, including a bunt from Muncy, a poke from Kike and a roller to third base from Pederson (the 3B had to play deeper due to the shift and Joc beat it out for the RBI infield hit). This is Dodgers baseball. I think I’m getting to like our new hitting coach. Let’s see how things are in September.

  2. Quality start by Kershaw, although only 6.1 innings and 97 pitches. Ran out of bullets early. Bullpen gave him a bit of a scare, after Baez was hit by the come-backer.

    Wow, Pedro really took a hot one… 100mph! Very lucky to come out of that with negative X-rays. He will be sore for a while…so unfortunate. He was really showing some promise on the mound.

    Offense manages to tally 7 runs…. enough for a win, but must improve on wasted scoring opportunities. 5-17 RISP, 10 LOB.

    Tampa Bay has a great record, but did not look too impressive to me. Dodgers are definitely a better team.

    1. Hello Bluefan. Dodgers did their scoring without the HR and the staff did not allow one either, so that is a good thing, well sometimes. And I hope one saw that double by Joc in the 9th inning OFF A LHP that drove in an insurance run. Will that gain him time against other LHP? Probably not.

      1. Hello Paul,

        Yeah, Pederson should get more at-bats vs. Lefties. Tired of the lefty lineup. The best thing that could have happened to the overcrowded outfield was Pollock to the IL. Starting OF should be Pederson LF, Verdugo CF, Belli in RF.

        CT3 can pull relief duties in CF, LF, and 2B. Kiké should be the every day 2B-man.

        Will this happen? As you say, probably not.

  3. The opener is stupid?

    I’d love to see or hear Scott expand on that, especially in light of:

    Prior to the beginning of this series, the Rays lead MLB in ERA (2.98) and ERA- (70). They have the best opponent OPS in the 1st inning (.185/.247/.299) & 2nd best oOPS in 2nd inning (.175/.244/.273)

    Tampa Bay has used an opener 68 times in the year since they started doing it, per the Tampa Bay Times..

      1. Um, that makes no sense. None at all.

        It’s not even a good attempt at a rebuttal.

        You pitch the opener in the 1st and 2nd inning, and you do better than league average in the 1st and 2nd inning.

        That’s the strategy working not the player.

        Sheesh.

        1. You’re not understanding. Those numbers need to be sorted to know how much of those stats apply to the openers or to the starters. You would have to take the 20 or 30 or so games only from the openers to be able to tell anything. Even then those games are a small sample. In my opinion the opener is a dumb unnecessary fad. So far the teams like Oakland and Tampa Bay get crushed in the postseason and I think not having any starting pitching is what’s killed them. Remember last year’s wild Card game? How did the opener work out for Oakland? Not so good.

  4. It didn’t take long for Freidman to return to his old stomping grounds and make a move of sorts to bring someone back to Dodgers from the Ray’s organization in Jim Hickey for a front office position.

  5. Bluefan and PaulieD, I’m sure that if given the chance, and without fear of not being allowed to fail, Joc would in fact, do just as well against Righties as L-words. This “squish em into a mold” mentality with some of our batters is really limiting and quite frustrating (I can only imagine how the players feel). Well, a win is a good thing, shame that Pedro Baez got royally thumped, he was just finally putting it all together after his April Spring Training.

    Verdugo needs to be in the lineup everyday, when Pollack returns Pollack needs to just be a fill in player. Joc, Verdugo and Bellinger, if allowed to play everyday, has a real chance of being the best OF in baseball, both defensively and offensively.

    Hey, remember the childhood game of leapfrog? It is really a great game to play when selecting posts to read or not to read. Makes the blog so nice to just jump over stupid posters without even taking a glance at their post. I highly recommend it. (wink wink nudge nudge)

  6. From a recent FanGraphs chat:

    Question: In Alex Verdugo’s preseason writeup, you guys mentioned that other teams questioned his makeup and didn’t want him in trade talks. Would you now consider that concern overblown with how his current teammates seem to react positively to his antics? I’m bringing it up because there’s a glowing ESPN article on him today. To me, makeup is one of those “secret sauce” attributes that non-scouts don’t really understand.

    Eric A Longenhagen: we were referring to off-field stuff. He’s allowed to play however he wants, we dig stoics and bat-flippers here.

    Question: Keibert Ruiz still looking good offensively, but has 33 SBs allowed, only 7 CS. Does he have the arm to keep a MLB running game in check?
    Eric A Longenhagen: It’s above on pure arm strength, plays like a 50 because he’s kinda slow ut of the crouch, elite accuracy
    i think he’ll be fine

    Old friend alert, Frankie Montas continues to pitch well:
    https://www.mlb.com/news/frankie-montas-dominates-in-oakland-sweep

    New friend alert, Tony Gonsolin today threw a sim game. If all goes well, he’ll be activated off the IL very soon.

    For the new millenia, the 2002 and 2003 drafts have been the best classes for the Dodgers in since I started following the draft. The 2016 draft class is starting to look like a new contender.

    2016 picks: Lux, Will Smith, Sheffield, White, May, Peters, Smeltzer, Raley, Gonsolin, Kremer, Alexy.

  7. Well, another beautiful outing by the bullpen. It was ugly for sure. Friedman better find some better arms or we may be in for a surprise.

  8. Well, Dodgers settle for just a split in Tampa Bay, submitting to an embarrassing route.

    Hill with another quality start, but again wasted by being pulled too soon. DR does not let his starting pitchers to go at least 7. It is basically an automatic yank after 6 innings. He relies too heavily on his overworked bullpen. This bullpen will be out of gas by the all-star break. No offensive support for Hill, again blowing many scoring opportunities. 1-5 RISP, 7 LOB. Could have put the game away in the early innings, but they tanked. Then, shooting blanks the rest of the game.

    It was an AL park, so no pressure to pinch hit or double switch for Hill. Also, was Beaty the best they can do for DH? DR out-managed by himself. Rays’ Manager just took advantage of DR’s every move. This game was just a prime example of how the Dodgers will again struggle and be outclassed by the AL’s best in the WS, “IF” they make it again…. a big “IF”.

    1. Bluefan, correct especially your last sentence here because it would appear that Roberts will repeat his same tactics over and over expecting different results. And concur about Beaty. I mean he did make solid contact but as an answer to DH in an AL: park….NOT!

  9. What is on the nightly Dodgers offensive menu, feast or famine, feast more times than not.

    What is on the nightly Dodgers Bullpen menu, feast or famine, famine much more than not. The PPP bully didn’t exactly abort a little innocent win but it sure did abort a good effort from Hill. It is getting to the point of absurdity in this bully. This bully just isn’t a winning formula for winning a championship. What a shame.

    Rumor has it that MIchael has run off with MJ. Let’s wish those two lovebirds a wonderful honeymoon. lol.

      1. Hey Bluto
        Is it my imagination or do you care more about the minor leagues than the Dodgers 25man roster? You know all about the minors and I could care less until I need someone to fill in. What they do in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, or somewhere else is of no interest to me. I know others may have an interest but most of the time the minors players never make it and you know Friedman would never trade a prospect. Am I right?

        1. Hey Package,

          Every blog talks about the majors. That said, there’s not much to complain, contemplate or even debate about the 40/25 man roster. It’s a very good team, very deep roster with a need in the ‘pen.

          Getting news and opinions on the minor leagues is much harder. Thus I try to surface it.

          Friedman trades quite a few prospects, you know this though.

          1. Bluto
            Perhaps you need to look at tonight’s lineup which makes no sense. Of course it is put together by a dummy so I guess it makes sense to some.

          2. So much for “openers”…. DR had three lineups ready to go, depending on who the Swashbucklers would throw out on the mound (plank”).

          3. I don’t know much nor care much for or about lineups. That is other than the basics, those who should do best bat early.

            All that said, ROberts’ lineup today seems smartly constructed.

      2. We all know that Dodger prospects will never be ready fro the big show, if Friedman had anything to say about it…. apparently he does. Verdugo got a chance, by default, due to the very timely injury to Pollock. If Pollock did not go down, Verdugo would be yo-yo’ing back and forth to and from OKC.

        Dodgers would rather let these kids burn themselves out in the farm, and continue their common practice of diving deep into the dumpster for cheap additions to the roster. So, what these kids are doing in the minors really has no bearing on the current 25-man roster. They could be ripping the cover off of baseballs, and blowing guys away at the plate…. it does not matter. Other teams are salivating, waiting for the Dodgers to offer up one of these prospects in a trade for a washed up veteran who has a reputation of killing the Dodgers.

        I would hate to be a Dodger farmhand. Chances of making it to the bigs are slim.

        1. Bluefan4Life, you couldn’t be more right on if ya tried. I have said similar a while back about being in the Dodger minor league system.. If ya are or anyone else is, simply be prepared to become a platoon player. Maybe there are some exceptions, but they are few.

          1. Exactly Paul,

            If Pollock was not down for the count, Verdugo would be platooning with Pederson, or be back at OKC. I am glad he took advantage of his opportunity to prove Friedman wrong.

    1. True
      Just want to let you know that Michael and MJ are two fine people and I am missing reading their prospectives. Both are intelligent and thoughtful folks. If they read this please come back.

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