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Dodgers bullpen contingent gets scant support 

Bellinger's bobblehead-night HR not enough as skid reaches six games
@kengurnick
April 14, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers sent only relievers to the mound on Saturday night, relying on a bullpen with a 5.16 ERA, but that’s not why their losing streak reached six games. Instead, it was the usually explosive offense that misfired in a 4-1 loss to the Brewers, the lone

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers sent only relievers to the mound on Saturday night, relying on a bullpen with a 5.16 ERA, but that’s not why their losing streak reached six games.

Instead, it was the usually explosive offense that misfired in a 4-1 loss to the Brewers, the lone highlight being Cody Bellinger’s bobblehead-night home run, a National League-leading ninth. The Dodgers have homered in 28 consecutive home games dating to last year, four short of the 1999 Rockies’ MLB record.

“We just couldn’t build on that momentum,” said manager Dave Roberts.

Ten games into the season the Dodgers had the market cornered on momentum, playing .800 ball, pummeling opponents. Now they’re a .500 team, trailing the surprising Padres by three games.

“We’re going to be fine,” said Roberts. “It’s not how you want to get to 8-8. But I’m really not too concerned with the results that are going to happen. We have to continue to pitch well, get ahead, play the defense the way we’re playing and take those good at-bats and it’ll turn. I’m not too concerned. We’ve been in this spot many times over. We’re all on the same page.”

The Dodgers bounced into three double-plays against soft-tossing Milwaukee starter Zach Davies, two by Corey Seager, and their last 14 batters were retired. Davies struck out six without a walk in seven innings. It was the first game this year the Dodgers did not draw a walk.

But they did draw an ejection. Catcher Russell Martin, currently on the injured list, spoke on behalf of the entire dugout in protesting a called third strike by plate umpire Jeremie Rehak on Austin Barnes to end the bottom of the fourth inning, stranding runners at second and third. Rehak tossed him.

“Our guys weren’t happy,” said Roberts. “We thought it was off the plate. I know Jeremie’s back there doing the best he can. Yeah, that was a big spot. We had [Alex] Verdugo on deck and things could have changed right there.”

The Dodgers trailed at that point, 2-1.

“Obviously, I didn’t think it was a strike. You can’t really leave it in the umpire’s hands,” said Barnes. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. One pitch doesn’t win or lose a game. It would have been nice to have it back, but what are you going to do? He’s not a robot. People make mistakes. They miss calls, they don’t miss calls.

“We’re still in a good position. I know we’ve been skidding the last couple of games. We’ll turn the page and get it going.”

Without a ready replacement for injured starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and management choosing not to call up a Minor Leaguer, Caleb Ferguson got the spot start and went 2 2/3 innings. The only run he allowed came on Mike Moustakas’ homer leading off the second inning. Ferguson made 51 pitches; his previous high pitch count in seven appearances had been 20.

The at-bat that haunted Ferguson was a two-out walk to Davies in the second inning. Although it didn’t directly lead to further scoring, Ferguson said it unnecessarily added to his pitch count.

“Stuff like that can’t happen when you’re starting a game,” said Ferguson.

Rookie Dennis Santana followed and fared worse, with seven of the 11 batters he faced reaching base and three scoring. He struck out the other four, but allowed a homer to Orlando Arcia, walked three and hit a batter.

“Dennis, he’s still green and still in that development stage, as far as trying to make pitches,” said Roberts. “Had some big strikeouts, but walked three and over the course of 50 pitches or whatever it was, it just wasn’t consistent throws.”

Scott Alexander pitched two scoreless innings, while Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez and Jaime Schultz pitched one each.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.