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The Dodgers are losing because the pitching has been unimaginably dreadful. The pitching has been almost horrific so far. The Dodger pitching staff is one of the worst in the National League and it was that same sorry staff that gave up eight runs to the Brewers tonight.
At first it was just the relievers. At least the starting pitching was effective and we could at least take solace in knowing that if the Dodgers could just straighten out their bullpen or somehow acquire better relievers that things would get better. But now even the starters are having bad outings and it’s disconcerting.
Brewers 8 12 0
Dodgers 5 12 1
Dodger starter Julio Urias gave up five earned runs, six earned after an unearned run scored on his own throwing error over five innings. Then the bullpen gave up an additional two runs to dig the club further in a hole. The Brewer’s starter Corbin Burnes was bad too. He gave up five earned runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings. But the difference was that Milwaukee’s bullpen tossed 4.2 scoreless innings (using five relievers) while the Dodger’s bullpen gave up two runs on six hits including a ninth-inning balk from Kenley Jansen. Joe Kelly again gave up a run on three hits in an inning and a third. The Dodgers have not allowed less than four runs in a game this season. The pitching is that bad.
Urias served up two home runs in the top of the fourth and fifth frames respectively. One was a two-run home run to former Dodger Yasmani Grandal (of course) in his first game back at Dodger Stadium as an opposing player. The other was a two-run shot from Hernan Perez that erased a 3-2 Dodger lead and put the Brewers up 4-3, and then also erased a 5-4 Dodger lead and put the Brewers up 6-5. Each time the Dodgers climbed back to retake the lead, the pitching staff immediately gave it right back. The Dodgers hit three home runs, a solo home run from Corey Seager in the first inning, a two-run blast from Cody Bellinger in the third (his National League leading eighth) and a two-run dong from Joc Pederson in the fifth.
It’s a shame the Dodger’s productive offense is being wasted by such pathetic pitching. This is one of the worst stretches for the pitching staff we’ve seen in some time. The good thing is that it’s early and there is plenty of time for the Dodgers to turn things around. I’m sure you’ve heard that way too many times and you’re probably sick of hearing it. So what can the Dodgers do at this stage in the season?
Honestly there is not much they can do. Clayton Kershaw is due back on Monday. Rich Hill shouldn’t be far behind him. The rest of the starters, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias should eventually start to pitch up to their talent levels. The bullpen is the most concerning.
The Dodgers could dip into their minor leagues and call up a couple of fresh arms like Kevin Quackenbush or Justin Grimm. Those guys may not help. When Kershaw and Hill return they could move Stripling or Urias into the bullpen and addition by subtraction could make things better. Or perhaps they call up Dustin May or one of the other top pitching prospects.
I think we just need to be patient for a few more weeks and hope the bats can keep them afloat. I mean Scott Alexander looks much improved. Caleb Ferguson is still a very good young pitcher. Kenley Jansen is healthy. That’s about all I can say right now. The series goes on tomorrow. I have no idea who pitches for the Dodgers on Saturday. It’s looking probable that it will be a bullpen game, some annoying hybrid where Dennis Santana pitches three innings and the other relievers pitch the rest of the game. Don’t expect them to win unless the offense scores like 12 runs again. Unless the offense continues to outscore the terrible pitching then don’t expect much winning until the pitching staff gets sorted. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM PST on Saturday.