Well, it wasn’t necessarily pretty or polished, but the Dodgers did what needed to be done against the San Diego Padres, taking two game out of three and re-extending their lead in the NL West. The Dodgers now lead the division by 3.5 games with 10 games to go in the regular season.
As we’ve talked a lot about recently, the Dodgers still have some pitching issues to contend with. Closer Kenley Jansen had another shaky outing where he almost blew the game again, but somehow managed to get the last out with the bases he himself loaded. One thing we know is that Manager Dave Roberts is loyal to a fault with his players, so expect to see Kenley continue to be in high leverage situations until the playoffs. I would guess it’s up to him to sink or swim, but I still think it would take a lot for Dave to remove him from his closer role.
Overall, I think fans still need to worry about Roberts’ usage of the bullpen. I know that at this point in the season, for him and the pitching staff, it’s still a tryout of sorts to see who’s for it and who doesn’t. But I would think the Pedro Báez was not the right pitcher to bring in to relief Clayton Kershaw with men on the bases in Monday night’s game. Maybe a little ironic that for once, Kershaw was taken out too soon. I personally would like to the the hard throwing Brusdar Graterol in that situation, and see how he does with some pressure, and not someone in Báez who is just returning from the IL.
Mookie Betts continues to impress, and made a case this weekend on why he should be chosen as NL MVP over Fernando Tatis Jr. They are tied for first in homers, and tied in stolen bases with nine each. Betts lead in batting average, hits, OBP, slugging and OPS. Come season end the Dodgers may find themselves with back-to-back MVPs.
The Padres sure are a chirpy bunch, eh? They talked and shouted and celebrated every little thing that happened. And good for them, they’re a good team having fun playing a kid’s game. But the Dodgers mostly didn’t let it get to them, although they did have some uncharacteristically bad defense during all three games. Although Justin Turner did return to the lineup Tuesday, he was only at DH and players are still shifted out of their normal positions. One hopes they are able to play the last week back where they all belong and are comfortable and the errors decrease. And we can really see how the lineup performs so much better with JT in the third slot.
Regardless of the chirpiness and the errors, after Monday’s bullpen meltdown, the Dodgers got it mostly together and won the games they needed to. Tony Gonsolin has shown time and again that he should be the third starter in the rotation, and maybe even number two. He definitely should be used against the Padres if they meet in the divisional round, which seems pretty likely. He has allowed only one run in 11.1 innings pitched against the Padres.
Caleb Ferguson will be a huge loss to the bullpen. Ferguson felt something in his elbow pitching in Tuesday’s game, and immediately was removed from the game. Despite one bad outing, Ferguson was poised to be a good long relief man out of the pen which would have been especially good considering there will be no days off between games in either the opening round or NLDS in the playoffs.
Now the Dodgers open a four game series in Colorado against the Rockies and as normal, one just roots for no injuries after leaving the Mile High City. The Rockies currently sit at 22-26, 12 games out of first and most likely out of the playoff hunt.
Thursday’s starting pitchers will be Julio Urías and Kyle Freeman. The Rockies’ lefty is 2-1 on the season with a 3.54 ERA. In his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, he went six innings and allowed two runs.
The Dodgers have yet to announce who the starter for Friday night’s game will be, and he will face off against Ryan Castellani. He allowed four runs in the game he faced the Dodgers on September 6th.
Saturday Clayton Kershaw will return to the mound, and the Rockies pitcher is TBD. Sunday’s matinee will be Tony Gonsolin and Antonio Senzetela. The righty went 9.0 innings in the last outing, against the Oakland Athletics, allowing only one run.
Thursday’s game will be at 5:40 PT. Friday and Saturday will be at 5:10, and Sunday’s game will be 12:10 PT.
Joc Pederson was placed on family emergency leave on Wednesday. Our Thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Pederson family.