Stone falters in rare off night for Dodgers pitchers

May 22nd, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- When the Dodgers looked over their schedule this spring, they knew this stretch of 13 consecutive games without an off-day would be one of the most challenging ones of the season.

During stretches like these, the depth of a team gets challenged, particularly on the pitching side. One bad outing from a starter could have a lasting impact on the rest of the staff until an off-day eventually comes up.

The Dodgers are better equipped to handle 13 games in a row than most teams. Though the offense gets all the shine at times, having enough pitching depth to get through a 162-game schedule is what has propelled the Dodgers to the regular-season dominance they’ve enjoyed over the last decade.

This 13-game stretch has been no different for the Dodgers, as they allowed just 32 runs over the first 11 games. On Tuesday, however, the Dodgers’ pitching staff had a rare off night in a 7-3 loss to the D-backs at Dodger Stadium.

“I felt like I threw a lot of good pitches today,” said Dodgers starter , who allowed four runs over six innings. “Just left a couple over the plate, and they took advantage.”

Stone has been one of a handful of rookies who have taken a real leap in development this season. The right-hander won the fifth spot in the rotation out of Spring Training and has more than held his own, a drastic difference from his struggles last season in his first taste of the Majors.

Over his previous four starts, Stone was one of the most effective starters in the rotation. Stone allowed one run in each in a span of 26 innings. On Tuesday, Stone didn’t have his best stuff, and the D-backs made him pay.

“I thought he did a good job of competing, keeping us in the ballgame, getting through six innings,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I thought these guys had a pretty good game plan against him tonight. You could see some breaking balls going the other way.”

In the second, the D-backs hit four consecutive singles off Stone to take an early 2-0 lead. Ketel Marte added an RBI groundout in the fifth, and then Christian Walker finished things off with a solo homer in the sixth.

“I didn’t feel the best, but I thought overall it was pretty good,” Stone added. “Left the changeup to Walker, and Carroll the sinker, and a couple other hitters. … A couple pitches didn’t feel great, but I felt decent.”

Even with Stone’s struggles, the Dodgers’ offense, led by Shohei Ohtani, made things interesting in the sixth. Miguel Vargas got the inning started with a double and came around to score on an Ohtani RBI single. Will Smith then tacked on with an RBI double, cutting the Dodgers’ deficit to one.

In the seventh, however, Arizona got to work against . Former Dodger Joc Pederson launched a three-run homer off Grove to ultimately put the game away. Before Tuesday’s outing, Grove had gone scoreless in seven of his last eight appearances.

“That's something, that Michael's been on a good run,” Roberts said. “And so hopefully, he can learn from it but continue to build on that momentum he's had."

Over the course of a long season, games like Tuesday's will happen to all teams. The Dodgers are 7-5 in their past 12 games and will go for their third consecutive series win on Wednesday with Tyler Glasnow on the mound.

“We have a full bullpen going into an off-day,” Roberts said. “Given the stretch that we’re on as far as how many games in a row we’ve played, the wins we’ve accrued and one game left against a division rival with a chance to win a series, I love where we’re at tomorrow.”