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Rangers tag Trevor Bauer & friends, Dodgers struggle against another left-handed starter

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Season highs in runs and hits allowed by Dodgers pitching

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Trevor Bauer allowed season highs in runs and hits, the Dodgers struggled against a left-handed starting pitcher again, and the Texas Rangers clobbered the home team 12-1 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

Last Sunday in Atlanta, Trevor Bauer’s spin rates were down across the board, and he allowed season highs in hits and baserunners. Amid reports that MLB planned to crack down league-wide on using foreign substances on the baseball, Bauer after the start said, “I just want to compete on a fair playing field.”

Bauer on Saturday against Texas allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits, with spin rates down again. He suffered the loss, while the Rangers won a road game for the first time since May 6.

“The one that hurts was I couldn’t consistently land my curveball,” Bauer said. “For whatever reason to lefties, I couldn’t land it. That was the one that was the most difficult to navigate around.”

Trailing by four runs after six innings, manager Dave Roberts tried to buy a few outs from Bauer rather than tax the bullpen, but Bauer allowed two more runs in the frame.

“I think it was really important to win a series, to spell some other guys, keep other guys fresh,” Roberts said. “Obviously you want to throw up zeroes, but still the value of being able to go into the seventh inning was a positive.”

The 12 runs and 17 hits allowed by the Dodgers pitching staff on Saturday are season highs. Saturday got so out of hand that newcomer Andy Burns, who got called up earlier Saturday for his first major league startat second base — finished the game on the mound in the ninth. He allowed a two-run home run, but also struck out a batter. A pitcher who was batting, anyway.

On the other side, Kolby Allard confounded the Dodgers through five scoreless innings. Despite the Dodgers stacking their lineup with seven right-handed position players, Allard’s outing was the 18th time in 20 games that a left-handed starter has allowed three or less runs against the Dodgers.

Entering Saturday, the Dodgers were hitting .226/.319/.396 against southpaws, which is bad for a team with this many good hitters. I guess they can’t all be Albert Pujols, but even he was 0-for-4 on the night, including two hitless at-bats against Allard. But as bad as Dodgers production has been against lefties this season, entering Saturday it was still good for a 100 wRC+, exactly league average but still not up to their standards.

Digging a little deeper, the vast majority of Dodgers production against southpaws has come against relievers this season.

Dodgers against left-handed pitching in 2021

Role IP ERA BB rate K rate BA/OBP/SLG
Role IP ERA BB rate K rate BA/OBP/SLG
Starters 103.3 3.14 10.2% 27.1% .198/.285/.355
Bullpen 86.3 5.00 11.7% 20.5% .259/.352/.443
through June 12, 2021

That held true again on Saturday, with Allard pitching five scoreless frames, while Taylor Hearn allowed a home run in the seventh, one of two innings pitched in relief by Rangers lefties.

All over the bases

Texas ran wild on the bases all night, perhaps sometimes a little too wild. For the second time in a week, the Dodgers got an out on an appeal play for someone missing a base. A little different than Ke’Bryan Hayes’ non-homer home run on Monday, this time Adolis Garcia scored from second base on a Joey Gallo single to right field in the third inning.

But when Garcia got to third base, he briefly thought the ball was caught in right field, and after touching the bag retreated a few steps back toward second base. Then, when he realized he could score easily on the play, Garcia turned back toward home, only he failed to touch third base as he passed. He was called out on appeal, 1-5.

Despite the faux pas, the Rangers still scored two runs in the inning, both unearned thanks to Mookie Betts uncharacteristically botching a fly ball in center field to open the frame. The final out of the inning was by Nate Lowe, who singled home Gallo, but was thrown out at second base. An odd inning all around.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa stole second base in the third inning, after stealing second and third in the first inning. Gallo also stole a bag in the third, giving the Rangers four steals against Bauer and Will Smith, the most off any Dodgers pitcher in a game this season. Bauer only allowed six steals in his first 13 starts combined.

“He just didn’t vary his times as much as he probably could have,” Roberts said.

The only two games in which the Dodgers allowed more steals as a team this year were April 24-25, when the Padres stole five and six bases against them in consecutive games. San Diego stole at will in two series against Los Angeles, swiping 19 bases in 20 tries in seven games over a 10-day stretch.

Coming into Saturday, the Dodgers only allowed 21 steals in 32 attempts, in their 41 games since then.

Saturday particulars

Home runs: AJ Pollock (5); Jonah Heim (3), Nate Lowe (9), Jason Martin (1)

WP — Kolby Allard (2-2): 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

LP — Trevor Bauer (6-5): 6⅓ IP, 9 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 2 walks, 8 strikeouts

Up next

Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with right-hander Dane Dunning pitching for Texas.