A pair of disturbing trends continued for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, falling to the Padres for the second time in as many games, this one 3-2 at Petco Park in San Diego.
The Dodgers got seven runners on base against Blake Snell in his five innings, and even had a hit with a runner in scoring position. But just one, and it was an infield single that obviously couldn’t score a runner from second base. None of those runners scored against Snell, who looked like he might have been pulled by manager Jayce Tingler with two on and two outs in the fifth inning. But Tingler didn’t bring the hook, and instead Snell struck out Albert Pujols to end the threat, and his night.
“We’ve just got to continue to take good at-bats, and get those hits when we need them,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We had Snell on the ropes. We got his pitch count up. We had opportunities.”
Snell on the season has a 5.29 ERA and 4.26 FIP. Against the Dodgers he’s allowed four total runs in 15⅓ innings for a 2.35 ERA, completing five innings in all three of those starts. Against everyone else, he has a 6.18 ERA and has only completed five innings four times in 12 starts.
The Dodgers haven’t scored much at all against Padres starting pitchers this season. Los Angeles has plated nine runs in nine games against San Diego’s rotation, in 47⅔ innings.
No Padres starter has allowed more than two runs to the Dodgers in a game this year.
Five of those games were started by left-handers, with rookie Ryan Weathers starting the two non-Snell games. Left-handed starting pitchers have posed a problem for the Dodgers all season long, to the tune of a 3.14 ERA with 120 strikeouts in 117⅓ innings.
The Dodgers have made hay against the Padres bullpen this year though, to the tune of 25 runs in 37⅓ innings.
It took a little time on Tuesday, with Nabil Crismatt pitching two perfect frames before running out of gas in the eighth. He allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Crismatt then left a curveball down the middle to Will Smith, who grounded into a bizarre double play, thanks to Manny Machado tagging Justin Turner with his barehand before throwing to second base for a force out.
That run pulled the Dodgers to within two runs, but Machado’s play effectively neutered the rally. Right-hander Mason Thompson, making his major league debut, walked Max Muncy but got AJ Pollock to ground out to Machado, this time for just one out, to end the threat.
“There’s a few instances where we’ve got to capitalize,” said Chris Taylor. “Bases loaded, no outs, a few other opportunities we weren’t able to get the job done. We’ve got to get better there.”
Padres closer Mark Melancon, pitching in his third game in four days, allowed a home run to Austin Barnes, the second ninth-inning, pinch-hit home run by Barnes this season. Taylor followed with a two-out single, putting the tying run on base, but Turner’s drive to right field was tracked down in right field by Wil Myers to end the game.
The Dodgers played from behind all night again, with Tuesday’s first-inning home run hit by Jake Cronenworth off Clayton Kershaw just three batters into the game for a 2-0 San Diego lead. The left-handed Cronenworth entered Monday with no home runs in 149 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching, but he’s homered off a pair of southpaws — Julio Urías on Monday, then Kershaw — in each game of this series.
Kershaw mostly settled down after that, and struck out seven in his six innings. But he also allowed another home run, this one on a curve to pinch-hitter Ha-Seong Kim in the fifth to widen San Diego’s advantage.
“I threw a curveball the pitch before and thought he didn’t look that great on it. It’s a pretty quick adjustment, so give him credit there,” Kershaw said. “It’s a tough night when your mistakes go over the fence.”.
There was simply no margin for such mistakes.
- Mookie Betts didn’t take batting practice before Tuesday’s game, and was dealing with the stomach flu, per David Vassegh of AM 570. Betts started and went 0-for-3, but was removed in the bottom of the sixth inning. “He had some stuff coming up again,” Roberts said. “Hope he feels better tomorrow.”
- Kershaw had one of the four hits against Snell, a chopper up the first base line that was Kershaw’s 16th career infield hit, and his first since August 13, 2018.
- The Padres have won six of nine games against the Dodgers this season.
- Cody Bellinger is expected to be activated off the injured list on Wednesday to start in center field in the series finale. He has yet to play against San Diego this season.
Home runs: Austin Barnes (3); Jake Cronenworth (10), Ha-Seong Kim (5)
WP — Blake Snell (3-3): 5 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP — Clayton Kershaw (8-7): 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv — Mark Melancon (22): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout
Trevor Bauer starts Wednesday night’s series finale (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, ESPN), with Joe Musgrove going for San Diego. The ESPN broadcast is fully national and won’t be blacked out in the local markets. Dave Flemming and Jessica Mendoza are on the call.