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Game Recap: Dodgers Lose Late to Cardinals After Jansen Struggles in Return

Dodgers
Aug 20, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) reacts after surrendering a home run to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter (13) in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game one of a three games series proved to be a back a forth struggle between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals would go on to win this one 5-3 in what is certainly a crucial series for both teams who are looking to make the playoffs in the final stretch of the 2018 season. The Dodgers are now 67-59 and are 2.5 games back in the NL West behind the Diamondbacks

and the Rockies. They will need to win at a high clip in order to remain in the playoff race going into the month of September and will need to avoid late-game blow-ups to ensure a chance to make a run in October.

The Starters

Alex Wood (7-6) vs. Austin Gomber (3-0)

Alex Wood 

IP H R ER BB K PC-ST ERA
4.0 7 3 3 2 4 71-48 3.60

Austin Gomber

IP H R ER BB K PC-ST ERA
5.0 5 2 2 4 4 83-51 2.98

Both Gomber and Wood walked away from this one with a no-decision with a 3-3 tie ensuing in the 7th inning after both were removed from the game. Wood pitched sub-par on the night while getting pushed around to the tune of 7 hits and 3 earned runs in only 4 innings pitched. His breaking balls were working but failed to locate his fastball well all throughout the night. He will look to improve control next time out.

Scoring

Top of the 1st

Cardinals 1, Dodgers 0

José Martinez blasts a homer to left-field off a poorly placed fastball by Alex Wood in the first inning.

Top of the 5th

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 0

José Martinez strikes again with a single to right field with runners on.

Pedro Baez inherits a bases-loaded situation with no outs and walks in a run before retiring the next three batters.

Bottom of the 5th

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2

Manny Machado hits a hard single to center-field to score Dozier from second and bring Turner to third.

Cody Bellinger hits a sacrifice fly to left-field with one out to score Turner from third.

Bottom of the 7th

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 3

Max Muncy handles a 103 MPH fastball off of flame-throwing Dakota Hudson that scores Cody Bellinger from second. Clutch hit of the night on a very impressive piece of hitting off of some serious heat.

Top of the 9th

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 3

Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter both unload back-to-back solo shots off closer Kenley Jansen in a tie-game situation. The Cardinals would retain the lead and capture the win.

The Bullpen

The bullpen once again struggled tonight as a collective unit allowing the Cardinals to score 2 runs on 3 hits all given up by closer Kenley Jansen. On a positive note, the rest of the bullpen recorded 0 hits, 0 runs, and 7 strikeouts over 4 innings of work via Pedro Baez and Kenta Maeda.

One of the lows of the night for the bullpen was losing J.T. Chargois to neck discomfort. Hopefully this injury is minor and Chargois can return without a stint to the DL.

The second, gut-wrenching low of the night for the bullpen was Kenley Jansen. Jansen returned from the DL to allow two solo homers in the top of the 9th during a tie game. Although he struggled in his return, Dodger players, Dave Roberts, and Dodger fans alike cannot begin to express the relief felt with Jansen back on the mound in high-leverage situation even though he would go on to record the loss after giving up a homer to Gyorko in the 9th. The Dodgers cannot continue to suffer late-inning woes at this point in the season. Here’s hoping that Jansen’s hiccup during his return was just a misnomer.

The high of the night for the bullpen was certainly Kenta Maeda. He was spectacular recording no hits or walks and 4 strikeouts over 2 innings. He was able to ramp up the fastball to 95 MPH and catch Cardinal hitters off-guard.

 

Analysis

The Dodgers failed to cash in on a win after tying the game after trailing 0-3 early on. Wins are going to be crucial as the Dodgers seek to win at a high rate going forward in order to compete for the NL West division title. Having Kenley Jansen back to handle 9th inning duties was incredibly encouraging even though he did not perform well tonight. Having him back to shore up the back end of the bullpen will prove to be an essential part of the winning formula going forward assuming the Dodgers are able to give him leads to work off of and he is able to pitch like he was before hitting the DL. The Dodgers need to begin winning and they need to do it now. As frustrating as it is for Dodger fans to keep enduring tough losses like this one, fans would do well to find optimism in the fact that the Dodgers still have a NL leading +111 run differential on the season. The Dodgers must begin to capitalize on close games if they want a chance to play in October.

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Written by Eric Morse

Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Eric has always had a love for baseball. Growing up visiting LA often to watch the Dodgers, Eric comes from a long line of Dodger fanatics. He spends his time ministering to youth and following the Dodgers.

7 Comments

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  1. We have to cut Kenley some slack, despite last night’s loss. He probably should not be pitching yet, but he wants to help the team. Hitters battled back from a 3-0 deficit, but we just can’t win consistently this year.

    • Jim,

      I agree. He just needs a sec to reorient himself and work back to form. He will be fine. I wasn’t trying to bash on him in this article. Dodgers will be fine

  2. One thing I think we all tend to forget is that Jansen has 4 losses and 4 blown saves so he is just as guilty as the other gas can in the bull pen.

    • Brad,

      Yes, Jansen does not have the squeaky clean record and stat line as we are used to seeing this season. But he does place second in saves in the NL with 32 on the season. That is pretty exceptional don’t you think?

  3. Jansen has 32 saves, 4 losses now, and 3 blown saves, which is a record of 32-7. Few, if any, closers are better.

    He is NOT “as guilty as the other gas can in the bull pen.” Don’t lump him in with the other losers.

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