After a thrilling win on the series opener, the Dodgers came out flat in the second game against the Pirates, and dropped Tony Gonsolin’s season debut 8-1, as five-plus innings proved too taxing a task for a bullpen that got pushed the previous night.
Contreras holds Dodgers hitless through five
Throughout the entire game, the one constant about the Dodgers offense was that it looked non-threatening. It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning, that the Dodgers got their first hit off Pirates’ starter Roansy Contreras.
In the sixth inning, the Dodgers had their only real shot to get into this game, as two of the first three reached, but Contreras got both Jason Heyward and James Outman to fly out, ending the threat, and finishing his quality start.
A solo shot in the eighth inning by Freddie Freeman prevented the shutout loss for the Dodgers, but at that time, the team already trailed by, so the two-out bomb served strictly to pad his stats.
Gonsolin’s much-anticipated season debut
In an ideal world, Gonsolin would be further along in his build-up before making his first start of the year. Nevertheless, it was great to see him back out there, even if in an abbreviated outing.
The plan according to Dave Roberts was for Gonsolin to pitch around four innings, but a high pitch count and a couple of base runners in the fourth ensued. Gonsolin only recorded 10 outs this evening.
It was all about the slider for Gonsolin, as the right-hander tossed in 27 breaking balls on 65 pitches, as he struggled to work both his fastball and splitter in there, with any sort of consistency.
The Dodgers’ starter was far from his sharpest self, walking three batters, and allowing five total base runners in three and a third, but ultimately he still managed to keep the Pirates off the board.
Bullpen’s scoreless streak got snapped
The Dodgers’ bullpen came into this game in a fine moment, having tossed 10 scoreless over their last three games, but with Gonsolin on a limited workload, Graterol still on paternity leave, and the unit coming off a big workload last night, as it covered five full innings, it was always going to be a big challenge.
Phil Bickford worked his way out of trouble with two inherited runners in the fourth, but the top of the Pirates order jumped on him, in the following inning, scoring the first two runs of the game with RBI singles by Bryan Reynolds and Andrew McCutchen.
The Pirates added to their lead, nicking Justin Bruihl for another run, before scoring four off Yency Almonte, and one more for good measure off Alex Vesia.
Pittsburgh stole six bases on Wednesday, all against the bullpen, a glaring weakness for the Dodgers this season.
The heartwarming storyline in the first career at-bat of Drew Maggi
Up by seven in the bottom of the eighth inning, Derek Shelton saw an opportunity to give an at-bat to recently called-up infielder, Drew Maggi, which received quite the reaction from the crowd.
Maggi is a long-time minor leaguer who’s had 4,494 plate appearances across 13 minor league seasons before ever seeing his first game action in the big leagues. Vesia struck him out, but in a game that was basically done, it was a nice moment to witness.
Home run: Freddie Freeman (4)
WP — Roansy Contreras (3-1) 6 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP — Phil Bickford (0-1) 1 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Breakfast and baseball on Thursday morning (9:35 a.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Julio Urías on the mound for the Dodgers and Mitch Keller pitching for the Pirates.