The Dodgers tried a bullpen game and failed, and the offense couldn't capitalize on a suddenly wild Jorge De La Rosa when given the chance, falling 6-3 to the Rockies in the first game of a doubleheader at Coors Field.
Joc Pederson provided most of the Dodgers' offense with a two-run home run in the third inning, hit well into the upper deck in right field. That gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead, but the murky waters of the middle innings proved choppy.
Juan Nicasio made his first start since June 15, 2014, but this was a start in name only, as his long relief appearance on Tuesday just happened to begin with the first inning. He lasted two innings, throwing 41 pitches and allowed a run.
Ian Thomas followed in his Dodgers debut, and the Clayton Kershaw stunt double allowed four runs on five hits and two walks in his three innings, allowing a two-run shot by Michael McKenry in the fourth and two more runs in a fifth-inning rally.
But it was at the plate where Thomas wasn't terrible. In the fifth inning, in his first major league plate appearance, Thomas ran the count to 3-1, then tossed the bat away thinking strike two was a ball. Two pitches later, he walked anyway, giving Dodgers pitchers 11 walks on the season, seven more than any other major league team.
That two-out walk was the Grabowski Principle moment for De La Rosa, with this definition, courtesy of Rob McMillin a decade ago:
When a pitcher does something hopelessly bad in a situation he should easily handle (e.g., giving up a hit to an opposing pitcher in a National League game, plunking the batter with bases loaded, or walking a struggling hitter), the Grabowski Principle says that pitcher must immediately be replaced.
On cue, De La Rosa began to unravel, issuing a walk and a single to load the bases, and the Dodgers cashed in the tying run with a walk by Adrian Gonzalez. But despite putting De La Rosa on the ropes, the Dodgers couldn't knock him out. Howie Kendrick struck out to keep the bases loaded and end the inning, and De La Rosa was even able to complete the sixth inning in order after the Rockies retook the lead.
Nicasio and Thomas combined for 97 pitches in five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. Also known as numbers that even a bad starter could put up, all while not knocking a reliever out of action for a few days as is the case now with Nicasio.
Not that the pitching was the only reason the Dodgers lost. The offense basically went to sleep after the Pederson home run, with two hits and three walks in the final six innings.
Zack Greinke gets the call for the Dodgers in the nightcap, a 5:40 p.m. PT start. David Hale starts for the Rockies. Expect a roster move or two from the Dodgers in between games.
Game 1 particulars
Home runs:(15); Michael McKenry (3)
WP - Jorge De La Rosa (2-2): 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Ian Thomas (0-1): 3 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - John Axford (10): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout