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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 43, 44 vs. Royals

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A doubleheader for the simulated Dodgers on the road against the Royals in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Texas Rangers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This is the 33rd 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!

Last time out, we blew a big lead to the Phillies and lost game three of the series. We also traded Jimmy Nelson for a minor league reliever and made some temporary moves to our bullpen to get some fresh arms on the major league roster.

This time, we start our three-game series on the road in Kansas City. First up: David Price (6-1, 3.40 ERA) up against the Royals’ Brad Keller (2-3, 3.52 ERA), followed by Julio Urías (3-2, 4.17 ERA) against Danny Duffy (1-0, 4.15 ERA). The Royals enter the series 19-24 and in fourth place in the AL Central.

Watch them 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! We did some more Sporcle quizzes after (including one Dodgers-related one), too!

The Dodgers pounced early — after Mookie Betts reached first on an error by shortstop Adalberto Mondesí, Max Muncy hit a home run to left field, taking an early 2-0 Dodger lead. The Dodgers added four more in the top of the fifth, when Joc Pederson hit a three-run home run and Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts hit back-to-back two-out triples.

David Price, who we desperately needed to go deep in this game due to a depleted bullpen, performed the job needed but got into trouble late. After four dominant innings to start the game, Price gave up an RBI triple to Hunter Dozier in the bottom of the fifth and then balked to send him home, cutting the Dodger lead to 6-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, trouble struck again for Price. After striking out Matt Reynodls to lead off the inning, Price gave up a single to Brett Phillips, a double to Whit Merrifield, and a two-run double to Mondesí to make it 6-4.

Faced with a tough decision and only Victor Gonzalez as our rested option in the bullpen, we chose to put in a tired Joe Kelly to finish the seventh, hoping to have Gonzalez pitch the eighth and ninth. Kelly walked Hunter Dozier, but struck out Jorge Soler and got Salvador Perez to ground out to end the inning.

In came Gonzalez, pitching the last two innings of a two-run game in his major league debut. The result: a smashing success. He struck out Alex Gordon to start things off, and after walking Ryan McBroom he induced a double play to get out of the eighth. In the ninth, Gonzalez struck out Phillips, gave up a hit to Merrifield, and then struck out Mondesí and Dozier to end the game and secure the Dodger win.

Here’s the box score:

Price and Gonzalez’s strong outings helped restore our bullpen a bit for the second game of the series, but only to a point. We still needed a good outing from Julio Urías, and the young left delivered.

In his best start of the season to-date, Urías struck out 13 against one walk in seven innings pitched, giving up just one run on five hits (a solo home run by Salvador Perez in the fifth). The Dodger bats came through for Urías, too, albeit a bit delayed. LA took a 1-0 lead in the third on back-to-back two-out doubles by Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts, and after Perez tied the game with a home run, Chris Taylor hit a solo home run in the sixth to take a lead the Dodgers would not relinquish.

In fact, the Dodgers put the game completely out of doubt, scoring three runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Some highlights: RBI doubles for Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger (his first hit since returning from injury) and Corey Seager, a home run for A.J. Pollock, and a two-run single by Justin Turner.

Here’s the box score:

After some rocky patches recently, we got just what the doctor ordered: a series against the Royals. Next time, we finish the series against them and look for a sweep. Dustin May will be making his first start of the year, going up against Glenn Sparkman (1-3, 4.15 ERA).