This felt like one – until the bitter ending – that the Dodgers were going to pull out. This was the type of story we read dozens of times in 2017. The Dodgers got down big early, only to fight back late and win with a little weird magic. In 2017 the Dodgers won this game. In 2018 thus far, they’ve come up just an inch short. It goes in the history books as their fourth one-run loss of the young season, and a surprisingly good ballgame.
Kenta Maeda set the tone early, and not in a good way. Chris Taylor struck lightning with a home run in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game 1-1. With Zach Greinke leading off the top of the third, it was beginning to feel like the Dodgers had momentum. Maeda then walked Greinke, and trouble followed. It was a disaster inning that saw Maeda throw two wild pitches and allow four runs.
Maeda was so bad that I walked outside and began watering my freshly-seeded grass. As I stood there in the dark watering the lawn I reflected to myself. Maybe by the time my grass starts to look halfway decent again, the Dodgers will start to play sound fundamental baseball. Sadly, it feels like both things are off in the distance.
The Dodgers Fought
In an odd way – even down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning – it didn’t feel like the game was over. Call it shades of last season, or the first Friday night game (Friday the 13th to be exact) at Chavez Ravine. I truly felt in my core that the Dodgers were going to find a way to gut it out and win this game.
Cody Bellinger woke up the stadium in that inning with a blast off Greinke, his second of the year.
Tony Cingrani gave up a demoralizing home run in the top of the seventh frame to Daniel Descalso. Descalso is becoming a player who lives to torture Los Angeles. From there, the game was 7-2 but mentally, I wasn’t willing to concede. And neither were the Dodgers.
The Bottom of the 7th
The Dodgers would strike back once again just enough to make you believe. It looked like they would strand runners on 2nd and 3rd after putting them there with no outs. Then Chris Taylor collected an infield single. Corey Seager got a huge clutch knock up the middle. Matt Kemp singled to center. All of these hits were of the run-scoring variety. Trailing 7-5, Bellinger came to the plate again and lifted a high drive to deep center field. The fans behind home plate rose to their feet. And the ball was caught on the track, just a few feet short of his second home run of the game that would have given the Dodgers the lead. On a warmer night, and in another life; that ball gets out and we’re all going to bed starting the weekend off on the right foot.
Friday The 13th Weirdness
Nick Ahmed of course homered in the top of the 8th inning to answer the Dodger rally. At 8-5, it was perfectly fine to give up as I saw many fans on twitter do. But the Dodger didn’t quit. If there’s one item that this team has – they fight. They really do. They’re obviously not a great team. There are flaws. I don’t think they’re going to be close to as good as last season no matter what. But they contain the same grit and fight that this core has always displayed.
The Dodgers began to rally back off typically solid Archie Bradley, one solid at-bat at a time. Grandal singled, and Puig walked. And then a bit of weirdness happened where you truly thought once again: they’re going to win this game. Chase Utley hit a ground ball up the middle off the second base bag. Take a look at the video here. The ball caromed off the bag, and two runs scored. With only one out, runners were at the corners and the score was 8-7. Taylor came to the plate in a perfect situation. A contact hitter that doesn’t ground into many double plays. Of course, Taylor hit into a double play and the candle effectively was blown out for the final time. The Dodgers would go down in the ninth pretty quietly and lose the game 8-7.
Dodger Of The Game
I have to give this to Cody Bellinger. He had three hits on the night, including a home run that seemed to energize the stadium. He nearly hit two, one that could have given the Dodgers momentum for the next week/month/etc. Honorable mention to Pedro Baez and Ross Stripling I guess, for coming on and eating innings in clean fashion after the starter left the pen hanging out to dry.
The Dodgers are 4-8. We will discuss the reasons why in the columns to come in the near future. There’s a next game to be played, and it happens Saturday night at 6:05.
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