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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 17 and 18 vs. Cardinals

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The Dodgers take on the Cardinals for the second time this season in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

This is the fifteenth installment of an ongoing series, where my dad and I will simulate each game on the Dodgers schedule until real Dodger baseball returns. Catch up on the rest of the series here! Thanks all for the comments and support!

Welcome back! After a pair of days off, we’re back with a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

First up: Walker Buehler (1-1, 1.50 ERA) against Carlos Martinez (2-0, 1.08 ERA), in a rematch of what was a bad time out for us against the Cardinals on Thursday. In the second game, 3-0 David Price will face off against Dakota Hudson in another pitching rematch.

It’s time for the game! Watch it here or scroll below to find out what happened. If you want to be notified when we go live with future simulations and chime in with your live feedback and/or input on managerial decisions, follow me on Twitch!

If you’ll recall, last time out Walker Buehler had a not great time of it, giving up five “unearned” (thanks to his own error) runs against the Cardinals in the first inning.

Unfortunately, this one had more of the same with Buehler’s early troubles. Kolten Wong led off the game with a double, and scored three batters later on a Paul Goldschmidt sacrifice fly. Two batters later, Paul DeJong singled home Matt Carpenter (who got on with a walk). At the end of the inning, it was already 2-0 Cardinals off of three hits and one walk against Buehler.

The Cardinals added to their lead in the second. Yadier Molina led off with a single, and once again the nearly 40-year-old catcher terrorized us on the base paths, preventing a double play by making it to second safely on a Carlos Martinez ground out. Wong singled Molina home without a throw, as the speedy catcher made it 3-0 Cardinals.

Buehler settled down after the second inning and found a groove, but his opponent Martinez found his groove from the start. After three perfect innings to start the game, he gave up his first base runner with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, walking Justin Turner. Nothing came of it, and Martinez did not give up a single hit until pinch hitter Matt Beaty doubled into right-center field with one out. Martinez retired Mookie Betts for the second out of the inning, and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt made the curious decision to bring in reliever Steven Okert, taking Martinez out of the game with a one-hit shutout going. Okert struck out Muncy to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers put together a little bit of a rally against Okert. Justin Turner grounded out to lead off the inning, but Cody Bellinger reached first base after an error by left fielder Tommy Edman. Corey Seager singled Bellinger to second, making it two on and out out. Okert struck out the righty Chris Taylor, making way for Shildt’s second curious decision of the game: bringing in the righty John Brebbia to face Joc Pederson.

Pederson singled up the middle, giving us a decision to make: do we send Bellinger home? After some discussion, we decided to do so, considering there were two outs and a three-run lead. But Harrison Bader gunned Bellinger out at home, retiring the side and keeping the score 3-0 Cardinals.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers nearly mustered up a two-out rally. After Will Smith and pinch hitter A.J. Pollock struck out to lead off the inning, Betts got on base for the first time of the day with a walk. Max Muncy followed up with a single into left, advancing Betts to third, but Betts strained his groin and will be out for three days. With runners on first and third, Justin Turner popped out to short, ending the inning and the rally.

In the bottom of the ninth, just as my dad was wondering aloud whether the Dodgers have been shutout this year (seriously, exactly as he was saying this, watch the video and laugh), Bellinger hit a solo home run, his eighth of the season, to make it 3-1. But it was too little, too late, as the Cardinals closed it out for the win.

The lone bright spot here, besides Beaty and Bellinger’s power at the plate, was the performance of the bullpen. Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez and Dylan Floro each delivered a scoreless, hitless inning in relief.

(Also, the Dodgers have been shut out once so far: last time out against the Nationals).

Here’s the box score:

In the second game of the doubleheader, Price looked to continue his strong start to his Dodger career.

I’m not going to bore you with the details, because that did not happen and this was an absolute slaughter. Price allowed 12 hits and nine earned runs in 4⅓ innings pitched, earning his first loss as a Dodger. He gave up the first two home runs in his Dodgers career (to O’Neill and Wong), and generally had a miserable day of it.

One slightly humorous detail: for the third game in a row, the Dodgers entered the bottom of the ninth scoreless. And for the second game in a row, Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run to at least put one run on the board, as the Dodgers lost 9-1.

Some bright spots, besides another Belli Bomb: Justin Turner went 2-for-4, Caleb Ferguson pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings (although he allowed two inherited runs from Price), and Brusdar Graterol extended his scoreless innings streak to eight, throwing two in this one with five strikeouts.

Here’s the box score:

So after a red-hot start, the Dodgers now find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Will they turn it around Thursday, as Julio Urias (1-1, 2.95 ERA) takes the mound against Jack Flaherty (1-3, 4.84 ERA)? We’ll find out, see you then!