I’ve been watching baseball a long time, most of my life so I’m able to pick up on patterns that maybe some people don’t pick up on. I’m not one to blind myself with data and ignore commons sense like the Dodger front office does at times. I know some of you have been watching baseball longer than I have been alive so I am aware that you get it as well. The first couple of innings of a baseball game are important. If you fall behind by more than a few runs too early in the game it normally means a certain loss. So when Kenta Maeda gave up six runs before the chairs were warm after the first inning, it meant an absolute 100% loss for the Dodgers in their opening game against the Cubs.
For the record, the Dodgers did lose, by a score of 7-2. Sure it is possible for the Dodgers or any other team to come back from a 6-0 deficit, but it’s very unlikely. This is what happens when your starter or pitching staff gives up a bunch of runs before your team gets to the plate. That’s what happened in game 7 of the 2017 World Series. There’s no imperial data to support my observation that when a starter or pitching staff puts a team in a hole right away that the lineup basically gives up. But the results speak loudly.
Dodgers 2 7 0
Cubs 7 8 0
When the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw gave up 3 runs in the first inning of their 5-0 loss to the Cubs in 2016 NLCS, they lost. The offense tallied two hits. When the Dodgers went down 5-0 after the second inning in game 7 of the 2017 World Series to the Astros, they lost 5-1. The offense scored one run. When the Dodgers went down 2-1, and then 4-1 and eventually 5-1 in game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox, the offense tallied three hits I think. You understand.
So when Maeda allowed six earned runs to the Cubs on Tuesday night in the Dodger’s 7-2 loss, I knew it was a loss right away and I started dinner early. To be fair, Maeda almost got out of it. After giving up two walks and a single, Maeda struck out Kyle Schwarber and it was looking like he just might get out of the trouble. The problem was his fastball and slider wasn’t working. The only pitch that was moving well for him was his changeup. Then he tried to sneak a hanging breaking ball by Willson Contreras and it didn’t work. Contreras the Chicago backstop cleared the bases doubling in three runs. Daniel Descalso doubled in another run. Then the following inning Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run, and that was it.
Opposing starter Jose Quintana tossed seven innings allowing just two earned runs on four hits. He struck out seven and walked two and picked up an easy win. As mentioned earlier, the Dodger bats faced with nearly an impossible task, gave up. They did score two runs on seven hits, but it was not nearly enough. Justin Turner and Corey Seager did notch two hits each. Cody Bellinger doubled and is still batting .416. The Dodgers were 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. It’s important to also note that this is not anyone’s fault (except for Maeda) in particular. Maeda just didn’t have it today. And as I mentioned above when your starter gives up 4 or 5 or six runs in the first or second inning, then you’re probably going to lose. And the Dodgers did just that. The series goes on Wednesday evening as Walker Buehler faces Cole Hamels.