I know the Dodgers are like 50 games up in the standings and Dave Roberts wants to experiment. He wants to audition different relievers to see who has the makeup to pitch in high leverage situations. I get it. But there was no reason to punt away an easy win with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. But that’s what the Dodgers did when they brought in Pedro Baez (senior lead blower) up 5-3 with a runner on base in that fateful eighth frame.
I had part of my recap all written up and ready to go expecting the Dodgers to wrap it up with Kenley in the ninth. Oh how foolish I was. I should have known better. My headline led perfectly into the recap. It was something like
“Total eclipse of the Bucs….Granderson’s grand slam lifts Dodgers over Pirates”. Unfortunately Baez’s horrendous pitching not only blew the lead but blew my recap out of the water. So I had to rewrite. I can still use the title. That’s because Yasiel Puig mashed a home run in the 12th inning off of rookie Dovydas Neverauskas to put the Dodgers back on top 6-5. It ended up being the game winner.
Dodgers 6 10 0
Pirates 5 9 1
The Dodgers had squandered a lot of scoring chances against opposing starter Gerrit Cole. The boys in blue left the bases loaded three different times and stranded 11 runners on base. Cole pitched well but for some reason the Pirates left him in way too long in the top of the seventh inning before he gave up the grand slam home run to Granderson. With everyone already used up the Dodgers had to have Ross Stripling close the game out. It all worked out just as we drew it up.
Millions of Americans around the country skipped work today to witness the first total solar eclipse in years. While the moon was passing in front of the sun earlier today the Dodgers were eclipsing the Pirate’s early three-run lead. They didn’t need any kind of astrological event to do it either. They just did what they usually do, which is coming from behind in the late innings to win baseball games. The Dodgers scored five runs in the seventh inning which was highlighted by a grand slam home run from newly acquired Curtis Granderson to knock off the Bucs 5-3 in steel town.
Alex Wood looked shaky in the early frames as he allowed three home runs in the first three innings. However he settled down and ended up turning in a quality start. His mound opponent Gerrit Cole pitched well, shutting the Dodgers down for the first six frames, but the Pirates left him in too long and it as Granderson’s big blast that made the Bucs pay dearly.
Granderson started the game in left field and batted cleanup as Chris Taylor patrolled center field. The lineup looks a bit different with Cody Bellinger still out with a swollen ankle. Adrian Gonzalez was back at first base and batting seventh. Bellinger is expected to miss another couple of games before he returns. The Dodgers can afford to give him some rest considering they have such a huge lead.
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know how much I disdain first inning runs allowed by the pitching staff. The Dodgers have been doing that a lot of late and it’s always been a pet peeve of mine. Wood gave me a break and waited until the second inning before giving up runs. It was very sporting of him.
So the Pirates took the lead when Jose Osuna and Sean Rodriguez hit back-back home runs in the bottom of the second inning. Wood gave up another one in the third frame as Josh Harrison crushed one over the center field wall to put the Bucs up 3-0.
The Dodgers were putting men on base but weren’t able to get them in, squandering three bases loaded situations.
I had to stop writing at that point because of Baez. But we’ll get to him in a minute. Let’s go back to that seventh inning with the Dodgers down 3-0. With Cole still on the mound the Dodgers got a walk, two singles (Corey Seager, Justin Turner) and a botched double-play to load the bases. New Dodger Granderson then crushed a grand slam to clear the bases and give the Dodgers a 5-3 lead. For the record Granderson has now hit two home runs and driven in 5 runs in his first three games as a Dodger. Not a bad debut.
After Wood (who’s SC joint apparently flared up again due to refining of mechanics) pitched six innings all the Dodger bullpen had to do was hold a two-run lead for three innings. Could they do it? Josh Fields tossed a scoreless inning in the bottom of the seventh without problem. Tony Watson was tasked with starting the bottom of the eighth. He hit pinch-hitter Adam Frazier with a pitch but retired Starling Marte on a swinging strikeout. Then Dave Roberts felt like experimenting. He wanted to give Baez a chance to audition for the playoffs with a high leverage situation. Guess how that turned out?
Not good I tell you. Josh Harrison immediately doubles down the left field line to score Frazier and the lead was cut to 5-4. Baez walks Andrew McCutchen and David Freese to load the bases with still one out. Josh Bell’s fielder’s choice grounder scored the tying run and the twitter world torched Baez. Everyone was livid and understandably so.
I am really baffled as to the logic that goes into constantly going to Baez in high leverage situations. Do they only look at ERA?
— Dr. Eephusblue ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ?? (@EephusBlue) August 22, 2017
As if everyone wasn’t angry enough at Baez, he goes and walks John Jaso. That’s his third walk of the inning. Finally Roberts comes out and gets him out of there and brings in Brandon Morrow, who retires Jordy Mercer to get out of the inning. Jesus.
The game would go on and the Dodgers used several more relievers. Morrow pitched the bottom of the ninth. Kenley Jansen in the tenth, Luis Avilan in the eleventh, and then Ross Stripling in the twelfth to close it out. It was Yasiel Puig’s monster home run in the top of the twelfth that gave the Dodgers the lead again. The Dodgers win 6-5. It was Avilan who gets the win in relief. The Dodgers were 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position and drew six walks tonight. The game was a brisk four hours and thirty-five minutes long.
As if that massive home run wasn’t good enough, Puig also did this as well……..
As Oscar would say…..Puig certainly happened. Thank goodness he did.