To say that the Dodgers‘ first road trip of the season was a bit of a roller coaster ride would be an understatement.
Four days after Los Angeles recorded their first series sweep of the season against the Rockies in Denver, the Dodgers were handled convincingly in all four games by the Cardinals in St. Louis. Entering the series, the Redbirds were just 4-5, while the Boys in Blue were sporting an impressive 8-2 record.
At first glance, it appears that the quality of opposition in the NL Central will be much more difficult for the Dodgers than the teams they will encounter in the West. The Dodgers will now face another tough club in the Brewers this weekend, although the team’s return home to Dodger Stadium could reverse its latest misfortunes.
Over the first three games in the series against the Cardinals, the Dodgers were outscored 15-5. Both the superior starting pitching and the stellar offense that dominated the first three series of the season were absent. Moreover, the team’s tendency not to produce with runners in scoring position—something that was prevalent throughout 2018—has seemingly surfaced once again.
Aside from a few select arms, the majority of the bullpen has been vastly under-performing. Joe Kelly‘s struggles are well-documented, and while Pedro Baez showed a brief flash of returning to his 2018 form, he came back down to earth in the finale on Thursday, surrendering three earned runs on four hits in one inning of work. It almost seemed like Dave Roberts should have rescued Baez just one batter into the inning.
In the 11-7 defeat, Baez was credited with the official loss, his first of the year.
The Los Angeles bat woke up a bit in the finale, this time producing seven runs—two more than the total in the first three games combined.
The long ball returned for the Dodgers, as David Freese, Walker Buehler and Enrique Hernandez delivered for Los Angeles. Freese’s blast to left put Los Angeles up by two runs in the third inning, and by the time Hernandez’s shot cleared the wall in left-center in the third frame, the Dodgers were up 7-4.
However, Buehler was roughed-up by the Cardinals in his third start of the year, allowing five earned runs on five hits and two walks in just four full innings of work.
On the injury front, the Dodgers were given a scare when Corey Seager was removed in the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch in the hamstring area. Early returns say that it’s a mild contusion, and the shortstop is day-to-day.
Jose Martinez went 4-for-5 for the Redbirds, including a double and three runs scored. Reserve catcher Matt Weiters also came up big for St. Louis—his two-run single to right field in the bottom of the fifth gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
Freese, Seager and Justin Turner all had two hits apiece for Los Angeles.
Looking ahead, Friday will be the first game of a three-game set with the Brewers.
Be sure to check back soon, as Andy will provide a few thoughts and a concise preview in her Friday column.