The first two games of the series in Cincinnati left Dodgers fans with a terrible sinking feeling. A team that can’t beat one of the lesser teams in baseball doesn’t stand a chance in the playoffs. That is the exact thought that made Wednesday morning’s game feel like a must-win game. And on a day where the bullpen was expected to carry the load, that certainly looked to be a tall task.
Ross Stripling turned in 3 1/3 fine innings in a spot start. The Dodgers lead, 2-1, after a boy reached over the outfield wall to catch Yasmani Grandal's drive. It went as a double, and Max Muncy, from first, was awarded home. The fans behind the boy are showing him a phone now.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) September 12, 2018
Ross Stripling took the hill in his first start since August 9th. Dave Roberts said before the game that his pitch limit would be somewhere around 3 innings or 45 pitches. He ended up going 3 1/3 and throwing 51 pitches, so a little over what they had expected from him. The game went to the bullpen from there.
Zac Rosscup took over in the fourth inning and was perfect. He has not allowed a run in his last seven appearances out of the Dodgers’ bullpen now. Caleb Ferguson followed that up with a three-strikeout inning, allowing a triple to Billy Hamilton in the process. Dylan Floro came on for the sixth inning and pitched had his own perfect appearance. Pat Venditte tossed 2/3 of an inning before being relieved by Josh Fields.
Fields threw 1 1/3 innings and was perfect. He struck out one and induced a few easy popups to glide through his appearance. Julio Urias was briefly up and ready to throw in the bullpen, but Roberts elected to give Jansen the ninth inning. Jansen had not thrown in a week since he did not make the trip to Colorado, and they wanted him game-ready for St Louis. Jansen did not allow a runner to reach in the ninth.
The bats came to play in this one, despite getting off to a very slow start. In fact, the Dodgers did not record their first hit until the fourth inning. Joc Pederson got things going with a solo homerun in the fourth to tie things up. The Dodgers would add another one in the inning to take the lead on a fan interference call. Yasmani Grandal had hit one that was going high off of the wall, but a kid snagged it and the umpires rewarded Muncy home plate.
The offense poured it on in the fifth, adding four runs on three hits to extend their lead. They pretty much kept the hits coming for the rest of the game but managed to score just two more in the sixth. Grandal finished the day with three hits and three runs driven in. He was one of two Dodgers to have three hits in this one, the other being Yasiel Puig.
The Dodgers head to St Louis to play a very tough Cardinals team in a four-game series. Clayton Kershaw will get the start on Thursday and he has pitched well as of late. Over his last nine starts, Kershaw has pitched to a 2.04 earned run average. He has also struck out 56 batters and walked four in that span. The Cardinals have won just five out of their last ten games.
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