Padres Defeat Dodgers to Avoid Weekend Sweep

Trailing the entire game, the Padres scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday to defeat the Dodgers 4-2 and avoid a four-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.

After starting the series with a 1-1/2 game division lead over the Padres, the Dodgers find themselves 3-1/2 games up over their Southern California rivals. Even though it was a productive series for Los Angeles, Sunday’s loss was still disappointing because the team was so close to the sweep.

The Dodgers wasted an excellent outing from lefty Clayton Kershaw, a narrative that has been common throughout his career. Kershaw threw seven strong shutout innings, surrendering just four hits and a walk while striking out eight batters. He tossed a season-high 98 pitches.

The Dodgers got on the board in the first inning after Mookie Betts led off the game with a double to left field and later scored when Trea Turner smoked a double of his own to the same part of the park. That lead held throughout the entire game until the Padres came up to bat in the ninth.

Evan Phillips, who has emerged as a somewhat reliable eighth-inning option in the absence of Daniel Hudson and Blake Treinen, pitched a perfect eighth, setting his team up for the win with a 1-0 lead.

That is, until Craig Kimbrel entered the game to save it.

Third baseman Manny Machado started the ninth by striking out. Jake Cronenworth followed by smashing a 100-MPH line-drive comebacker that went off Kimbrel’s back, sending the pitcher to the ground. Kimbrel stayed in the game temporarily, but he was removed after Luke Voit doubled of the top of the left field wall to score Cronenworth and Eric Hosmer singled to score C.J. Abrams, who pinch ran for Voit.

When Kimbrel exited, the Padres had a 2-1 lead. San Diego added two more when Ha-Seong Kim hit a two-run homer of Yency Almonte, who replaced Kimbrel.

By the time the smoke cleared on the top of the ninth, the Padres had a 4-1 lead.

After Gavin Lux started the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout, Betts began a mini-rally with a one-out double to right field. Trea Turner followed with a single, setting up Freddie Freeman with runners at first and third with one out.

However, Freeman managed just a sacrifice fly to score Betts. Will Smith grounded out to second base to end the game.

The Dodgers begin a three-game series against the Rockies at home on Monday.

How Valuable Is Tony Gonsolin to Dodgers?

Heading into the 2022 season, the Los Angeles offense was touted as being one of the potential best in recent Dodgers history, with names like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy leading a cast of All-Star sluggers.

While some of these players have certainly had solid first halves to the season, it’s been the Los Angeles pitching that has carried most of the load. Even though several key starters like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Andrew Heaney have spent significant time on the injured list, the Dodgers still have one of the best starting rotations in the majors.

Much of that success has come from 28-year-righty Tony Gonsolin. Without his services, it’s hard to say where the team would be right now in the standings, especially when considering how many key pitchers have already been injured.

With two weeks remaining before the All-Star break, Gonsolin is leading the world in almost every starting pitching category. He should be the starter for the National League All-Star squad, if skipper Dave Roberts decides to pattern his remaining first-half starts around the Midsummer Classic’s schedule. It’s an honor that Gonsolin deserves to experience, and there’s no reason Roberts shouldn’t do everything possible to make it happen.

Ironically, being named as a member of the 2022 NL All-Star team was one of Gonsolin’s goals entering the season.

“Coming into the season, in the offseason and during the lockout, it’s really what my goal was this year,” Gonsolin said in early June. “It was to come back, feel good, be healthy and do my best to try to make the All-Star team. That was one of my main goals this year personally. So, we’ll see what happens with that. We’ve got another month and a half.”

Regardless, Gonsolin was the second major league pitcher to notch 10 wins this year, despite the win category often being one of the most overrated pitching statistics. Wins do, however, suggest how well the Dodgers have performed whenever Gonsolin takes the bump, which says a lot.

Gonsolin leads the starting pitching universe with a 1.54 ERA, as the next closest contenders are Shane McClanahan of the Rays at 1.77 and Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins at 1.95.

Both his 273 ERA+ and his 0.820 WHIP also lead the entire major leagues.

Gonsolin is coming off one of his best major league outing of the season on Friday night, having thrown 7-2/3 innings against the Padres and surrendering just one earned run on four hits and no walks while striking out eight batters.

However, the 6-foot-3 Vacaville native is entering a new personal territory as far as innings pitched go. He currently sits at 81-2/3 innings for the season. His previous career high in the majors was 55-2/3 last year. In the minors, he threw a combined 128.0 innings across two levels in 2018, a total he can conceivably hit in early August if he stays on pace.

While many pundits will credit Gonsolin’s improved command and the effectiveness of his splitter to his success in 2022, it could be his confidence on the mound that has been the most significant factor.

“My mechanics are pretty similar to years past,” Gonsolin said. “The difference this year is going after hitters and attacking them — just having more confidence that my stuff is going to work.”

Dodgers Claim Righty Pitcher Ian Gibaut from Guardians

Nearly two weeks after dropping a series to the Cleveland Guardians, the Dodgers claimed one of their former relievers in righty Ian Gibaut.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 250 pounds, the 28-year-old Gibaut brings a sizable presence to the mound. The Houston native and former 11th round pick of the Rays in 2015 made his MLB debut with Tampa back in 2019.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Gavin Stone

For as much as we discuss prospects on this site, one player we’ve yet to feature is righty pitcher Gavin Stone.

Several of our commenters have been talking about the Arkansas native for a while, even though he hasn’t really burst onto the scouting radar until this year. Stone has been making a name for himself by his ability to miss bats, as his 11.80 K/9 this season is one of the best in the organization.

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More Thoughts on Dodgers Bullpen as Trade Deadline Approaches

With righty reliever Daniel Hudson going down to what is possibly a season-ending knee injury on Friday night, many fans of the Dodgers are wondering how the team plans to compensate over the long term.

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Dodgers Sweep Reds in Cincinnati, Head to Atlanta to Face Braves

The Dodgers benefitted from a solid outing by lefty veteran Clayton Kershaw and some timely hitting by several underperforming stars to defeat the Reds 10-5 on Thursday and complete the series sweep.

Kershaw looked decent in his second start since returning from the injured list, throwing six full innings on 80 pitches and surrendering one earned run on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.

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Kimbrel, Dodgers Fall to Guardians in Weekend Series

In another game that was very much winnable, the Dodgers fell to the Guardian’s in Sunday’s finale, allowing Cleveland to take the series at Dodger Stadium two games to one.

About the only good news of the entire series was seeing a healthy and happy Sandy Koufax, with the club mustering a decent effort on Saturday to commemorate the legendary southpaw’s incredible legacy with the franchise.

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Dodgers Lineups: How About Some Changes in the Batting Order?

Lineup strategies in baseball are intriguing because many teams take entirely different approaches. Some managers prefer to construct batting orders having players with the best OPB at the top, while others like to build their lineups to combat an opposing pitcher’s handedness, even if most of the hitters have decent splits.

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Exactly How Good Are the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers?

Aside from the World Championship season in 2020, one of the most talked about baseball topics over the last decade has been the Dodgers not playing to their potential. Sure, this can be said for the majority of MLB teams that at least make an effort to spend money, but when you look at the Dodgers on paper, the roster just oozes with talent.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Keeping an Eye on Diego Cartaya

After starting the 2022 season with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, 20-year-old catcher Diego Cartaya continues his climb to the majors with a recent promotion to High-A Great Lakes.

Catcher is one of those interesting spots for the Dodgers because they’ve had one of the healthiest stocks of players after being so barren at the position for nearly a decade. Even after dealing Keibert Ruiz to the nationals in the Max Scherzer deal and Connor Wong to the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts trade, Los Angeles is seemingly sitting pretty for the foreseeable future.

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