Most of the Dodgers losses have been in close games this year, sometimes excruciatingly so. They lead the majors with nine one-run losses, two more than any other team. But this one was a butt whooping, 9-2 in Anaheim.
Through most of this now 4-14 skid, the Dodgers have had an underperforming offense and a shaky bullpen, but a starting rotation that has mostly kept them in games. Tonight, all three facets went south.
Julio Urías had a rare clunker on Friday, getting touched for five runs in five innings. The big inning came in the second, when he allowed home runs to Justin Upton and Taylor Ward, and a double to Drew Butera, fueling a four-run inning.
Urías allowed more homers and runs on Friday night than in his last three starts — four runs, and one home run, in 19 innings — combined.
“Julio didn’t have his A stuff,” said catcher Will Smith. “He had that one bad inning.”
Friday also marked the first time Urías was credited with a loss since Game 4 of the 2019 NLDS. Between losses, the left-hander pitched 105⅔ innings in 23 games, including 18 starts, going 11-0 with a 2.98 ERA.
To top things off, AJ Pollock left the game in the sixth inning after suffering an apparent leg injury in left field.
That necessitated a few things. Sheldon Neuse had to move from designated hitter to left field, just the fourth game he’s played in the outfield as a professional or in college. His previous experience in the outfield came with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019, when he started three games in left.
Losing the DH put the pitcher in the lineup, and since Edwin Uceta finished the game with 2⅓ innings on the mound, his spot came up in the eighth inning. Uceta grounded out, but also became the first Dodgers pitcher ever to bat at Angel Stadium.
Angels reliever Patrick Sandoval recorded the final 10 outs for his first major league save.
Your moment of zen from this game in the top of the sixth, when Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser were befuddled by home plate umpire’s strike zone.
Joe: "Adrian Johnson says that was down..."— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) May 8, 2021
Orel: "...the middle." pic.twitter.com/VgBeVIcRFr
The top of the sixth inning provided an overview of the Dodgers offense on the night. Pollock had two pitches that appeared to be in the strike zone called balls, including that one above, and this followed a pair of one-out hits on plays that should have been made by Jared Walsh — any time the box score describes a play as “doubles on a pop up to first baseman,” you know it’s bad — and José Rojas.
But despite the favorable scoring chance, Pollock struck out, then the pinch-hitter Neuse struck out, keeping the inning scoreless.
On the night, the Dodgers stranded seven runners in scoring position, and had another (Corey Seager) picked off second. If it’s any consolation, even if all of the stranded runners scored, the game still would have only been tied.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (4); Justin Upton (6), Taylor Ward (1)
WP — Griffin Canning (3-2): 5⅔ IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP — Julio Urías (4-1): 5 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Patrick Sandoval (1): 3⅓ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Clayton Kershaw tries to snap what is now a four-game losing streak on Saturday (6:07 p.m. PT; SportsNet LA, Bally Sports West), with Dylan Bundy starting on the mound for the Angels.