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Dodgers Week 12: Moving forward

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5 wins in 6 games for a second straight week, setting up another showdown series in San Diego

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Dodgers took advantage of the soft part of their schedule — playing three last-place teams in the last two weeks — winning 10 out of 12 games. That included two series wins last week over the non-last-place Phillies and somehow-worse-than-last-place Diamondbacks.

Pitching was the name of the game for the Dodgers last week, even keeping them in the game on Wednesday when Zack Wheeler and his Phillies friends dominated the offense, shutting out the Dodgers for the first time in 140 games.

Over the weekend the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks for the second time in two tries this season, pushing Arizona into even further depths. The D-backs set a major league record with 23 straight road losses on Thursday, but even at home in Phoenix couldn’t find respite. Overall, the D-backs have lost 17 straight games, and at 20-53 they are tied for the fourth-worst 73-game start in MLB’s divisional era (dating back to 1969).

“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” said former Arizona outfielder AJ Pollock.

The Dodgers did not trail at all during the weekend in Phoenix, as much as the lower-leverage portion of the bullpen tried with an eight-run lead on Sunday. Friday’s game-winning hit was a home run by 32-year-old Steven Souza Jr., who was called up Wednesday. On Sunday, 41-year-old Albert Pujols continued to punish left-handed pitching, breaking the game open with a three-run shot.

Andy Burns, the 30-year-old utility man who returned to the majors on June 12 after five years away, reached base in half his plate appearances last week.

Contributions like that helped the Dodgers fend off the latest round of injuries, with Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger sidelined last week, though both are due back early this week.

“Our guys have done a great job of just continuing to move forward and try to win baseball games,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got to still keep playing better baseball.”

Batter of the week

Will Smith caught four of six games last week and hit a pair of home runs, including the go-ahead two-run shot on Monday against Philadelphia.

Pitcher of the week

Two worthy winners here, and in most weeks Trevor Bauer with his seven scoreless innings and eight strikeouts would easily take the cake. But we’re going with Walker Buehler because his start on Saturday was more dominant. He was also scoreless through seven innings and even took a no-hitter into the eighth. Buehler struck out a season-high 11, and the two runs charged to his ledger scored after he left a 9-0 game.

Buehler leads the Dodgers in innings per start and has pitched at least six innings in all 14 games this season. In his last seven starts he’s allowed eight total runs.

“He’s, in my opinion, one of the best in baseball,” Smith said after catching Buehler on Saturday. “He’s already elite, but what keeps him ahead of the pack is his work ethic and his competitiveness.”

Week 12 results

5-1 record
29 runs scored (4.83 per game)
17 runs allowed (2.83 per game)
.727 pythagorean win percentage

Year to date

44-27 record
373 runs scored (5.25 per game)
270 runs allowed (3.80 per game)
.644 pythagorean win percentage (46-25)

Miscellany

Sweet emotions: Steven Souza Jr. was called up on Wednesday by the Dodgers, his fifth major league team. The last three years were injury-plagued for the outfielder, including missing all of 2019 with a gruesome knee injury. The 32-year-old had a hit and was hit by a pitch in his first game with the Dodgers, and afterward celebrated on the field with his wife and two children.

“They mean the world to me. In this journey that we all go through as baseball players, our families feel the burdens and they ride the ups and downs,” Souza said. “So to get to just soak in this moment with my son, my daughter, and most of all my wife, who is my rock, it’s a cool moment. It’s it’s one of my favorite things about today.”

Souza’s second game was even better, making a sliding catch in what was a scoreless game at the time on Friday in Arizona. Then he provided the scoring, hitting a solo home run in his first game at Chase Field since, as a member of the Diamondbacks, in spring training of 2019 he suffered an ACL tear, LCL tear, partial PCL tear and posterior lateral capsule tear in his left knee, wiping out his season.

“The last time I touched home plate, it didn’t end well for me,” Souza said. “So being able to touch it and walk away up 1-0 was definitely emotional.”

First, we feet: Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday made his 369th start and pitched in his 372nd career game. It was his last start before Fathers Day, and for that occasion, his three kids helped design a pair of Skechers cleats he wore during the game.

“They’re pretty proud of them. It was cool to get to do that,” Kershaw said. “I’ve never been able to wear customized cleats before, so that was pretty fun tonight.”

Also on Wednesday, Kershaw walked his 600th batter, and we broke down his career in 100-walk chunks. In case you were wondering, Kershaw during the regular season has walked 332 different batters. Matt Holliday walked the most (12 times), and nobody else walked more than seven times. Hunter Pence faced Kershaw 92 times — second-most by any player — and walked once.

Scoring at a premium: The Dodgers scored eight total runs to the Phillies’ six runs in their three-game series. Fourteen total runs is the lowest total in a Dodgers three-game series since June 7-9, 2019, when 13 runs were scored in San Francisco. In both series, the Dodgers won two of three games, and Kershaw suffered the only loss despite allowing just two runs.

Shouldering the load: Tony Gonsolin spent over two months on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, and after a pair of short and ineffective starts experienced more shoulder soreness. He was sharper on Sunday in Arizona, but his velocity was down — his four-seam fastball averaged 91.8 mph against the D-backs, compared to 94.6 mph in his first two starts and 95.1 mph last season — and though he allowed only one run, he was pulled after just 46 pitches and 3⅔ innings in a planned short outing.

“It’s probably more muscle fatigue this time than the last time. Throwing less will help,” Gonsolin said. “Not a high-level concern at all.”

Transactions

Tuesday: The Dodgers waited three days before deciding to place Cody Bellinger on the injured list with left hamstring tightness. They didn’t directly call up a replacement position player, but rather used the IL stint to recall pitcher Mitch White within 10 days of his optional assignment.

Wednesday: That other position player came the next day, with outfielder Steven Souza Jr. called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Pitcher Nate Jones was designated for assignment, making the necessary room on both the active and 40-man rosters.

Thursday: Garrett Cleavinger was activated off the injured list after missing a month with left forearm inflammation. Outfielder Luke Raley was optioned to Triple-A, giving the Dodgers 14 pitchers on the active roster heading into a stretch of 12 straight game days.

Thursday: Dennis Santana, who was designated for assignment on June 12, was traded to the Rangers for minor league left-hander Kelvin Bautista.

Sunday: Edwin Uceta was recalled from Oklahoma City, and Mitch White was optioned to Triple-A.

Game results

Week 12 batting

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Smith 14 2 4 1 2 5 0 2 18 0.286 0.444 0.786 1.230
Pujols 15 1 5 0 1 3 0 0 15 0.333 0.333 0.533 0.867
Betts 17 3 4 1 1 4 0 5 24 0.235 0.375 0.471 0.846
Taylor 21 6 4 0 2 3 1 5 26 0.190 0.346 0.476 0.822
McKinstry 14 3 4 1 0 1 0 3 17 0.286 0.412 0.357 0.769
Turner 17 2 5 1 0 4 0 3 20 0.294 0.400 0.353 0.753
Beaty 13 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 14 0.231 0.286 0.385 0.670
Pollock 20 2 5 2 0 3 0 2 22 0.250 0.318 0.350 0.668
Lux 21 5 5 0 0 1 0 5 26 0.238 0.385 0.238 0.623
Starters 152 24 39 6 6 24 1 25 182 0.257 0.368 0.428 0.796
Souza 12 1 3 0 1 2 0 1 14 0.250 0.357 0.667 1.024
Burns 7 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 10 0.286 0.500 0.429 0.929
Barnes 9 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 9 0.222 0.222 0.222 0.444
Raley 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Bench 30 4 7 1 1 2 0 3 35 0.233 0.343 0.433 0.776
Pitchers 12 1 2 2 0 1 0 0 15 0.167 0.167 0.333 0.500
Offense 194 29 48 9 7 27 1 28 232 0.247 0.354 0.423 0.776

Week 12 pitching

Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Bauer 1 1-0 7.0 3 0 0 3 8 0.00 0.857 1.94
Buehler 1 1-0 7.3 2 2 2 2 11 2.45 0.545 1.16
Gonsolin 2 0-0 7.3 7 2 2 3 7 2.45 1.364 2.25
Kershaw 1 0-1 6.0 8 2 2 1 9 3.00 1.500 2.60
Urías 1 0-0 5.7 6 3 2 2 5 3.18 1.412 3.99
Starters 6 2-1 33.3 26 9 8 11 40 2.16 1.110 2.30
Jansen 3 0-0, 3 Sv 3.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 0.000 1.60
Bickford 2 0-0 3.0 1 0 0 3 4 0.00 1.333 2.27
Cleavinger 2 1-0 2.3 1 0 0 1 3 0.00 0.857 1.65
Kelly 2 1-0 2.3 1 0 0 0 1 0.00 0.429 2.08
Treinen 2 0-0, Sv 2.0 1 0 0 0 3 0.00 0.500 -0.07
Nelson 2 0-0 2.0 0 0 0 0 3 0.00 0.000 -0.07
Price 3 1-0 2.7 5 1 1 0 1 3.38 1.875 2.18
Gonzalez 3 0-0 1.0 3 1 1 1 0 9.00 4.000 5.94
White 1 0-0 0.7 2 1 1 0 1 13.50 3.000 -0.07
Uceta 1 0-0 1.7 3 5 5 2 3 27.00 3.000 2.94
Bullpen 21 3-0, 4 Sv 20.7 17 8 8 7 21 3.48 1.161 1.77
Totals 27 5-1 54.0 43 17 16 18 61 2.67 1.130 2.10

Previous reviews: Apr. 1-4 | Apr. 5-11 | Apr. 12-18 | Apr. 19-25 | Apr. 26-May 2 | May 3-9 | May 10-16 | May 17-23 | May 24-30 | May 31-June 6 | June 7-13

Up next

The Dodgers run the Keith Moreland gauntlet, finishing off the road trip in San Diego, followed by four games at home against the Cubs. Four of the seven games will be available on national television with no blackout this week, Saturday and Sunday exclusively so.

Week 13 schedule

Mon, Jun 21 Tue, Jun 22 Wed, Jun 23 Thu, Jun 24 Fri, Jun 25 Sat, Jun 26 Sun, Jun 27
Mon, Jun 21 Tue, Jun 22 Wed, Jun 23 Thu, Jun 24 Fri, Jun 25 Sat, Jun 26 Sun, Jun 27
at Padres at Padres at Padres vs. Cubs vs. Cubs vs. Cubs vs. Cubs
7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 4:15 p.m. 4:08 p.m.
Urías v. Kershaw v. Bauer v. Buehler v. Gonsolin v. Urías v. Kershaw v.
Darvish Snell (L) Musgrove Davies Arrieta Mills Alzolay
SNLA/ESPN SNLA/MLBN* SNLA/ESPN SNLA/MLBN* SNLA Fox ESPN
*MLB Network broadcast available out of market