On Dave Roberts’ birthday, the Dodgers handed him a rather sloppy 10-6 loss to the Nationals, with poor situational play as the lineup failed to produce with runners in scoring position, thus failing to pick up another poor start by Noah Syndergaard.
With 11 hits, and six stolen bases, there were plenty of chances for the Dodgers to secure this sweep, but for all that work, five of the team’s six runs came on the long ball, and in this slug fest, that just wasn’t enough as the Nationals slammed five home runs to avoid a sweep.
in recent games against elite pitchers such as Spencer Strider and Tyler Glasnow, the Dogders offense showed up with very solid performances, and at first glance, one isn’t likely to blame the lineup for this 10-6 loss, but it is all about context.
The scoring began early with two first-inning homers from Mookie Betts and Will Smith, setting up a 3-0 lead, but after that, the offense repeatedly let Patrick Corbin off the hook, stranding runners in every other inning, only managing one more run off the Nationals starter in his five frames.
While the team quickly responded after the Nats went up 5-4 in the middle innings, with a Miguel Rojas RBI single, there were simply too many wasted opportunities with 11 men left on base, as the lineup went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. As it relied almost exclusively on the long ball to score runs.
Syndergaard’s struggles continue
At this point in the season, the silver lining in Syndergaard’s starts is the knowledge he’ll eat up innings, even if in a rather disappointing fashion, and this series finale against Washington was the latest occurrence of that.
The Dodgers’ starter quickly got himself a significant lead as the offense put up a three spot on Patrick Corbin in the bottom of the first, but it wouldn’t last long, as the Keibert Ruiz and CJ Abrams hit back-to-back bombs in the second inning.
In the third inning, the visiting side tied things up on a Jeimer Candelario RBI single. In both of those innings, the damage could’ve been greater as both of those homers n the second came after a double play that erased a leadoff walk, and an inning later, Dom Smith flew out with runners at the corners to keep the damage at one.
As the Dodgers have done all throughout this series, the offense responded as soon as the Nats put up runs, giving them back the lead, but Syndergaard wouldn’t leave the game before coughing up another two more runs, to give the Nats a 5-4 lead, as Candelario went deep with a two-out, two-run bomb.
Allowing nearly two baserunners per inning, Syndergaard covered five frames allowing the same number of runs in another underwhelming performance against a particularly mediocre opponent. His ERA on the season is 6.54 in 11 starts.
The comically tragic eighth inning
As Rojas tied up the ball game in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Dodgers entered the eighth with a clean slate, after a rather poor start by Syndergaard, and having survived Alex Vesta's eventful, but scoreless seventh, despite two baserunners, you’d have to feel confident with the high-leverage bullpen arms set to enter the game.
However, things quickly went south for Brusdar Graterol, as the hard-throwing righty hit the first batter he faced, and after a slow chopper back to the mound, made an errant throw to second base to put two runners in scoring position with no outs.
Graterol rebounded with two outs without allowing a run and looked poised to escape the frame with the game still tied, but he hung a slider to Luis Garcia, who promptly slugged it out to right field, giving the Nats an 8-5 lead.
Although the Dodgers cut that deficit to 8-6 with Betts’ second homer of the day, the Nats quickly answered with a pair of insurance runs, going up 10-6, as former Dodgers farmhand, Ruiz, went yard for the second time in the game.
Home runs: Mookie Betts 2 (13), Will Smith (8); Keibert Ruiz 2 (7), CJ Abrams (6), Jeimer Candelario (7), Luis Garcia (4)
WP — Kyle Finnegan (2-2): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP — Brusdar Graterol (2-2): 1 IP, 1 hit, 3 unearned runs, 1 strikeout
Sv — Hunter Harvey (3): 2 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers get an off-day at home, as they get set to welcome the New York Yankees over the weekend, with Clayton Kershaw taking the ball on Friday (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network) against Luis Severino.