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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Game 45 vs. Royals

The Dodgers look to complete the sweep with a rookie on the mound.

Divisional Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

This is the 34th 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, the Dodgers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in this series against the Royals, with wins for David Price and Julio Urías. This time, we’re looking to clinch the sweep with a rookie on the mound.

Filling in for the injured Alex Wood, Dustin May will be making his first start of the year, going up against Glenn Sparkman (1-3, 4.15 ERA)

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!

May gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the second to Brett Phillips, but otherwise had a decent start to the game. He retired nine of the first 12 batters he faced, giving up a single, that home run, and an error by Chris Taylor (one of two for Taylor in the game at third base).

The Dodgers took their first lead with a two-out rally in the top of the third. Gavin Lux tripled to right-center, and after walks issued to both Mookie Betts and Max Muncy, Justin Turner singled Lux and Betts home to take a 2-1 lead.

The Royals tied it up soon after: in the bottom of the fourth, Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn hit back-to-back singles. After a fielder’s choice put runner’s on the corners, Salvador Perez hit a sac fly to tie the game.

Once again, the Dodger offense responded immediately. Will Smith walked to lead off the fifth, and Gavin Lux hit a two-run home run the other way to take the 4-2 Dodger lead.

We were hoping to let May finish the fifth, but the righty wasn’t able to do it. Tzu-Wei Lin led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, and Whit Merrifield singled him to third (one of four consecutive at-bats in this one where Merrifield got a hit to the right side). Lin scored on a sacrifice fly by Adalberto Mondesi, and two batters later Hunter Dozier doubled Merrifield home to tie the game. We brought in Caleb Ferguson to finish the inning, ending May’s day with 4 23 innings pitched and four earned runs on seven hits, with four strikeouts against no walks.

Ferguson pitched a scoreless seventh as well, paving the way for Blake Treinen against the top of the Royals order in the bottom of the seventh. Treinen then had the worst performance of his young Dodger career, giving up five hits and four runs as the Royals blew the game wide open, leaving the inning with an 8-4 lead.

Once again, the Dodger bats came alive in response. Justin Turner led off the eighth with a single, and Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager walked to load the bases. Chris Taylor hit a two-run double, Joc Pederson scored Seager on a ground out, and Will Smith drove Taylor in with a single to tie the game 8-8.

Joe Kelly came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out after a single, a walk and Taylor’s second error of the game. Kelly struck out the lefty Ryan O’Hearn, and we brought in Scott Alexander to face Phillips. Alexander walked Phillips with the bases loaded, giving the Royals a 9-8 lead heading into the ninth.

The Dodgers yet again wasted no time at the plate. Leading off the ninth, Max Muncy hit an Ian Kennedy pitch 421 feet into right-center, tying the game 9-9. The Dodgers weren’t able to make more out of the inning, however: Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger struck out, and Chris Taylor wasn’t able to take advantage of a two-out Corey Seager double.

Alexander and Kenley Jansen combined for a scoreless ninth, and Jansen continued with a scoreless tenth. On offense, the Dodgers struck out three times in the top of the tenth, and twice in the top of the 11th — unable to take advantage of a one-out Justin Turner double.

With Jansen tired and an already completely depleted bullpen, we had no choice but to turn to tomorrow’s scheduled starter Ross Stripling to pitch the bottom of the 11th. Stripling gave up a lead-off double to Phillips, walked Perez, gave up a sac fly to Alex Gordon and then the game-winning single to Matt Reynolds, clinching a 10-9 Royals victory.

Here’s the box score:

The Dodgers remain one game up on the Diamondbacks in the NL West. A few roster moves to keep some fresh arms in the bullpen: down go Dustin May and Brusdar Graterol (don’t worry, Brusdar fans, he’ll be back soon), up come Mitchell White and Dennis Santana.

Next time: we return home for a three-game series against the Phillies, looking for some revenge after they beat us in Philadelphia. After Ross Stripling was pressed into emergency relief, Santana gets the call from Double A for his first start of the year, up against Zack Wheeler (2-3, 4.39 ERA). See you then!