When Pedro Baez giving up a three-run home run to a .213 hitter and blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning is not the primary storyline in the Dodger’s 8-5 win over Colorado in the series opener on Thursday evening at Coors Field, then you know there was a lot going on. There definitely was a lot going on despite Baez’s incompetence. The Dodgers started the game with questionable bullpen depth because closer Kenley Jansen was under the weather (we later learned due to his irregular heartbeat issue) and a couple of other guys were unavailable. This is never a good thing due to the Denver Park eating pitchers alive like a pacman on steroids. We all know firsthand how dastardly Coors Field can be. Thankfully Baez’s bad pitching ended up being just an annoying footnote.
Kenley Jansen was taken to the hospital with an irregular heartbeat, Dave Roberts said. Jansen is flying back to Los Angeles and will not be available for this series.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 10, 2018
It seemed like the Dodgers almost pushed their luck a bit too far. Things turned out alright because the Dodgers rallied to overcome a two-run deficit with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. The Dodgers would hit five home runs (Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Brian Dozier) scoring two in the seventh and eighth frames. The boys in blue piled on three more in the ninth plating seven runs over the final three innings.
The bullpen may still be frustrating but the rotation continues to be quite solid. Right hander Ross Stripling was activated from the disabled list and was very effective. Strip tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits and striking out two. Stripling and the Dodgers were aided by turning three double plays, (two from Stripling) and the good bullpen of Caleb Ferguson, Scott Alexander did the job.
Dodgers 8 13 0
Rockies 5 10 1
The Dodgers plated a run in the top of the second inning when Enrique Hernandez doubled, stole third and scored on a Chris Taylor sacrifice fly. Colorado would tie the game in the bottom of the fourth with a Carlos Gonzalez walk and an RBI double from Nolan Arenado. The Dodgers couldn’t get Arenado out. The all-star third baseman was 3 for 4.
Moving along to the top of the seventh. Opposing starter Tyler Anderson was tough limiting the Dodgers to just the one run on four hits across six innings. Anderson struck out six and walked one but the Rockies removed him from the game in the seventh. If you think the Dodger’s bullpen is bad then you haven’t seen the Rockie pen. Colorado’s bullpen is one of the worst in baseball.
It was no surprise when Dave Roberts pinch-hit for Stripling with Max Muncy. Remember him? Surely you do because he hit an opposite field solo home run off of Scott Oberg to put the Dodgers up 3-1. Two batters earlier Joc Pederson pinch-hitting for Hernandez smoked an oppo boppo to break the 1-1 tie. This was the first time in 43 years that the Dodgers got two pinch-hit home runs in the same inning. Or so we were told.
Everything was looking on the up and up for the Dodgers until Pedro Baez was brought in to pitch the bottom of the seventh. The Rockies would score four unanswered runs much to the chagrin of Dodger land. In that inning, Arenado singled. Baez struck out Trevor Story but walked David Dahl. Then Ian Desmond’s single to center and a passed ball advanced the runners to second and third. Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta swatted a home run over the left field wall to put the Rockies ahead 5-3.
We’ll never know the rainbow of Robert’s reasoning for using Baez in such an important spot. But I like you have had enough of Baez’s awful pitching to last a lifetime. Caleb Ferguson who has been very effective in relief had to come in and clean up Baez’s mess. That should tell you something.
The Dodgers rallied in the eighth inning. With two outs Matt Kemp doubled off the wall and Cody Bellinger absolutely murdered a baseball to tie the game at 5-5. That beautiful majestic monster of a blast from Bellinger tied the score and Chris Taylor’s solo shot (off of a dreadful Wade Davis) in the top of the ninth put the Dodgers ahead for good. Brian Dozier would homer later in the inning to give the Dodgers a three-run lead.
Scott Alexander would pitch an uneventful bottom of the ninth inning to secure the 8-5 Dodger win. With the win the Dodgers (64-52) move into a first place tie with the idle Dbacks. The loss drops the Rockies 3.5 games back. Game two on Friday evening will feature Kenta Maeda versus Jon Gray with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM PST.