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Simulating the Dodgers’ 2020 season: Games 49, 50, 51 vs. Cleveland

The Dodgers host 22-29 Cleveland for three games in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard MacksonUSA TODAY Sports

This is the 37th 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, Walker Buehler delivered a gem in a convincing 10-3 win over the Phillies, securing a series win. Mookie Betts, Justin Turner, A.J. Pollock and Will Smith all went yard, too: it was a good game for the NL West leaders.

We’ll have a pair of lefties on the mound to kick off this series. The first game will feature David Price (7-1, 3.64 ERA) against Mike Clevinger (2-2, 1.77 ERA), while the second will see Julio Urías (4-2, 3.78 ERA) face Carlos Carrasco (2-3, 6.49 ERA). Finally, Ross Stripling (1-2, 3.62 ERA) will take on Aaron Civale (2-6, 7.23 ERA).

Corey Seager will miss this series with an injury suffered when sliding into second on a double last week, but will be back for the next series against Colorado.

Watch 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!

(It says doubleheader, but we ended up playing all three games).

David Price’s topsy-turvy May continued with one of his worst starts as a Dodger yet. On the second pitch of the game, Greg Allen hit a home run into the left field bleachers — and that was Price’s best inning of the game. As the runs piled up, we made the decision to stick with him and take the loss. That’s mostly because this game starts a two-and-a-half week stretch without a day off, so we’ll have to ration our bullpen to avoid what happened last time.

Price gave up two runs in the second, two in the third, four in the fourth and two in the fifth. He left the game after five with the Dodgers down 11-4, but only four of those runs given up by Price were earned. That’s because the Dodgers infield committed four errors — two by Chris Taylor at short, one by Justin Turner at third and one by Gavin Lux at second.

Some bright spots in a rough series opener: Cody Bellinger got back on the home run sheet with a big blast in the fourth, and Gavin Lux hit a 435-foot three-run blast later that inning. Mitchell White pitched three scorless innings in relief with five strikeouts and no walks, and Kiké Hernández pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

An additional rough spot, besides the performances of Price and the Dodger infield: Cody Bellinger injured himself making a throw from center, and will miss the next week. That will see him out for the rest of the series against Cleveland and the entire series against Colorado.

Here’s the box score:

In game two, Julio Urías gave up a two-run home run to José Ramírez in the top of the first, and it looked like things were heading in the same direction. But the young lefty recovered, throwing five consecutive scoreless frames after that.

That gave the depleted Dodgers’ offense, missing Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and a tired Justin Turner, enough time on offense. In the bottom of the fourth, Joc Pederson scored on a Gavin Lux sac fly after doubling earlier in the inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Max Muncy hit a solo home run to tie it up, and in the bottom of the sixth A.J. Pollock took the lead with a solo blast of his own.

We pulled Urías in the seventh after he gave up a solo home run to Franmil Reyes, tying the game 3-3. Brusdar Graterol made his return to the major league club by retiring the next two batters and getting out of the inning.

Blake Treinen, who has a disastrous appearance his last time out, struck out the side in the top of the eighth. The Dodgers quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with nobodyy out: Max Muncy walked, Mookie Betts singled, and Joc Pederson walked. But A.J. Pollock struck out, Chris Taylor grounded into a fielder’s choice at home, and Gavin Lux flied out to end the inning with no damage done and the game still tied 3-3.

Treinen retired Cleveland in order again in the ninth, but weren’t able to score either base runner they got in the ninth (Will Smith got picked off at first after a leadoff single, Hernández walked with two outs but Muncy struck out). This time it was Joe Kelly’s turn for a 1-2-3 inning, retiring the Indians in order in the 10th.

In the bottom of the tenth, Cleveland brought in the lefty Brad Hand to face Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock. After Betts grounded out, up came Pederson. We would have typically pinch hit for him in this situation, but with a depleted bench we had little choice but to give him a shot. Entering the game 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against lefties in 2020, Pederson hit a walk-off home run to right field, winning the game 4-3 and tying the series at a game apiece.

Here’s the box score:

Game three saw an unlikely pitcher’s duel between Ross Stripling and Aaron Civale. The game was tied 0-0 through five innings, with just five hits between the two teams.

Then the game one woes struck.

Stripling started the top of the sixth by walking Greg Allen, who stole second base. Stripling got Carlos Santana to fly out and got a huge strikeout against Francisco Lindor, bringing up José Ramírez with two outs. Ramírez hit a simple ground ball to second, but Gavin Lux made an error, advancing Allen to third and putting runners on the corners with two outs. That was enough for Jordan Luplow to hit a three-run home run, putting Cleveland up 3-0 on three unearned runs.

Once again, the depleted Dodger offense chipped away. In the bottom of the sixth, it was Joc Pederson, continuing his successes from game two with an RBI two-out double, scoring Mookie Betts. In the seventh, it was Will Smith, hitting an opposite field home run to bring the Cleveland lead down to 3-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, everything clicked. Max Muncy led off the inning with his own opposite field home run, tying the game. Justin Turner singled, advancing to second on a wild pitch and causing Cleveland to intentionally walk Joc Pederson. Next up: A.J. Pollock, who got the unintentional walk to load the bases with nobody out.

Unlike game two, the Dodgers capitalized this time. Chris Taylor hit a groundball trhough the infield, scoring both Turner and Pollock to take a 5-3 Dodger lead.

In came Kenley Jansen to pitch the ninth. He struck out Tyler Naquin for the first out, but walked Christian Arroyo and threw a wild pitch, suddenly putting a runner in scoring position. After walking Franmil Reyes (and causing some consternation among the co-GMs/managers), Jansen got Domingo Santana to ground into an inning-ending, game-ending and series-ending double play.

Here’s the box score:

After all that and a few bad outings for the Diamondbacks and Padres, we sit four games ahead in the NL West. Next time, we pack up for a road trip, heading to Colorado for four games of NL West action against the last place 18-33 Rockies. It’ll be the team with the best record in the National League against the team with the worst, so let’s hope for a good clean result (and long outings by our starters — a four-game series in Colorado can be brutal to a bullpen).

First up will be Alex Wood (5-2, 2.47 ERA) against Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 4.14 ERA). See you then!