The shortcomings of the Dodgers’ bullpen were once again on full display Saturday night in San Diego as the Dodgers fell 8-3 to the Padres. The Dodgers’ offense mustered three runs off Blake Snell, a true rarity. Those precious three runs were scored all for naught after a disastrous seven-run eighth inning turned the game upside down.
On paper, it looked like a lopsided contest. Current NL Cy Young frontrunner Blake Snell for the Friars while the Dodgers planned to send out a pair of young arms in Michael Grove and Ryan Yarbrough.
With two outs in the top of the first, Will Smith battled Snell in an 8-pitch at-bat before going yard for a solo home run to make it 1-0. It was the first home run Snell had allowed since June 28.
Michael Grove was doing things in the bottom of the first to open the game for the Dodgers by merely striking out the side. He sent Ha-Seong Kim, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto down on strikes.
Good morning, good afternoon, good night. pic.twitter.com/PmRN0YqzhM— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 6, 2023
The Dodgers manufactured another run off Snell in the top of the second thanks to a leadoff walk to Chris Taylor. Taylor stole second and third base to put him in perfect position to score on an Enrique Hernandez sac fly.
Blake Snell allowed more than one run once in his last 13 starts (2 runs on June 28). Dodgers scored two in the first two innings— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) August 6, 2023
They've only scored more than two against Snell only once in 14 career starts (regular season and playoffs)
Grove was in a groove again. He struck out Manny Machado swinging to start the second inning, his fourth straight strikeout.
Xander Bogaerts singled to center, and Dave Roberts seemingly jumped out of the dugout to bring in Ryan Yarbrough for his Dodgers debut.
We got to see Yarbrough for the first time in Dodger Blue, and he did exactly what Roberts looked to him for. His job was to retire the San Diego lefties. He dropped down with a sidearm breaking ball to strike out Jake Cronenworth swinging. Then the crafty southpaw struckout Ji Man Choi swinging to finish the job.
San Diego pitching coach Ruben Niebla was ejected by first base umpire Gabe Morales in the top of the fourth after a balk was called on Snell. Snell somehow didn’t get ejected after arguing with the umpire about the balk call. Despite the two-out walk by Outman and the balk, the Dodgers failed to capitalize on Snell’s missteps this time.
Machado crushed a solo home run off Yarbrough in the bottom of the fourth and put the Padres on the board.
Mookie Betts managed to leadoff the fifth frame with extra bases off Snell. Mookie doubled to the left field corner, and Soto’s error allowed Betts to slide safely - after an upheld challenge - into third.
Freddie Freeman drove in the third run of the night off Snell with a RBI single.
Best one-two punch in baseball. pic.twitter.com/zYMzT87sTk— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 6, 2023
After the two-out base hit by Soto in the bottom of the sixth, Roberts went to Brusdar Graterol out of the bullpen to face Machado. Graterol struck out Machado who proceeded to angrily get into the umpire’s face. Graterol used the pitch clock to his advantage, but Manny was not too happy about it.
Perhaps that was the turning point for the Padres. San Diego overcame a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the eighth after they attacked the Dodgers’ bullpen in a season-high seven-run attack.
Yency Almonte loaded the bases with one out in the home half of the eighth. Caleb Ferguson was tasked in facing Soto with the bases juiced. Hernandez couldn’t get to a softly hit ball, then he made a terrible decision to attempt a throw to first which got away. Two runs scored on the play to tie the game 3-3.
The Padres scored a total of seven runs off Almonte and Ferguson in the eighth to break open the game and give them the eventual 8-3 win.
Home runs: Will Smith (14); Manny Machado (21)
WP — Nick Martinez (5-4): 2 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Yency Almonte (3-2): 2⁄3 IP, 1 hit, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Lance Lynn (7-9, 6.32 ERA, 4.05 xFIP) makes his second start with the Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball (4:10 p.m. PST; ESPN). Old friend Rich Hill (7-10, 4.76 ERA, 4.71 xFIP) faces his former team for the first time in a Padres uniform.