LA drops series, missed chances 'frustrating'
LOS ANGELES -- Through the course of a 162-game season, every team is going to experience tough stretches and some bad losses. That rings true even for a team with as much talent as the 2021 Dodgers.
The frustrating part for teams, however, is when those bad losses occur. For the Dodgers, they picked a bad time to have an off weekend. With a 5-0 loss to the Rockies on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers dropped two of three against a Colorado team that came into the series with a 15-47 record away from Coors Field.
To make matters worse, the Dodgers wasted two opportunities to make up ground on the Giants, who dropped two of three against the Braves in Atlanta. Los Angeles remains 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco with 31 games left in the regular season.
“I think that this series, offensively, was pretty frustrating and the byproduct is we didn’t gain a couple of games when we had opportunities,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Regardless of how [the Giants] play, if we’re not putting good at-bats together, building innings and finishing those innings, it’s all moot.”
Like Roberts mentioned, the big reason for the Dodgers’ struggles this weekend was their lack of offense. The Dodgers had plenty of success in their first two meetings against Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, scoring 12 runs (11 earned) off him over six innings. On Sunday, though, Senzatela got the best of the Dodgers.
The first baserunner for the Dodgers came in the fifth inning when Corey Seager laced a leadoff single into center field. Cody Bellinger kept the rally going with a one-out single to put runners at the corners, giving Los Angeles its first threat of the game. But Senzatela was able to strike out Billy McKinney and got Austin Barnes to ground out weakly to end the inning.
That was the Dodgers’ best chance to score, as they were held to just three hits. Outside of a three-run rally in the eighth inning on Saturday, the Dodgers went 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
With every key offensive contributor healthy for the first time this season, the Dodgers have, arguably, the best lineup in the Majors. But right now, they’re searching for some answers.
Mookie Betts, who entered Sunday’s game in the sixth inning, is 1-for-11 since returning to the lineup on Thursday. Max Muncy is 1-for-24 in his last seven games. Bellinger is 5-for-44 in his last 13 games. Seager is 6-for-33 in his last nine.
It hasn’t been a smooth week for the Dodgers’ offense, but they’ve been able to get away with it due to the team’s stellar pitching. That wasn’t the case on Sunday, as right-hander Mitch White didn’t have his best command and served up a three-run homer to C.J. Cron in the first inning.
“I think if we execute that pitch up and in, we don’t have any problems,” White said of the at-bat vs. Cron. “It just leaked over the middle and he put a good swing on it. Slider was definitely an option, especially in the second at-bat when I faced him, I threw him all sliders and it worked. You can second guess everything, but it comes down to execution.”
Colorado was then able to tack on two runs against Joe Kelly in the seventh. Third baseman Justin Turner also got on the mound for the first time in the Majors, tossing a scoreless ninth.
From here, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles will host the first-place Braves for three games at Dodger Stadium beginning on Monday. Then the Dodgers will fly to San Francisco for a pivotal three-game set against the Giants. It’s a week that could decide whether they win a ninth consecutive division title or if they’ll be playing in the National League Wild Card Game.
They’re hoping to play a lot better than they did this weekend.
“I think there’s some balls that we square up and don’t have anything to show for it,” Roberts said. “I think there’s some early outs, some bad at-bats, certainly, in there. It’s probably one of those funks that we’re in right now, so hopefully hitting is contagious and hopefully, we can turn it around tomorrow, because we’re going to need to.”