Rare bullpen struggles sink Dodgers on JRD

May throws quality start but makes some key mistakes

August 29th, 2020

could be a Rookie of the Year candidate this season and the same for Comeback Player of the Year, but neither was thinking awards Friday night after the Dodgers’ 6-2 loss to the Rangers in Texas.

May, who grew up 30 miles from Globe Life Field, delivered a quality start with two runs allowed in six innings as Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated throughout baseball.

“I thought today was more on a positive note,” May said. “After the third inning I started to mix my stuff more and felt more confident with that. Going forward, I think we need to mix my offspeed more and stop being so cutter and two-seam reliant.”

But he made mistakes that contributed to the two runs and left with a no-decision. He was critical of a two-seamer that Shin-Soo Choo hit for an RBI double. And with Choo on second base, May tried to pick him off and threw the ball into center field. Choo went to third and scored on Nick Solak’s single.

“I had a better idea in my mind than how it was,” he said. “Stepping off and throwing it sounded a lot better in my head than doing it in person.”

Even though there were no fans in the stands, May called his return home “an awesome feeling.”

“Being back in my home state of Texas, playing the team I grew up watching and rooting for, it was pretty phenomenal and an awesome experience, for sure,” he said.

Made to take on more starts than expected with the Dodgers’ starting rotation thinned out, May is 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts and didn’t allow a home run for the first time since July 29. He has pitched six innings in three of his last five starts, and that was welcome considering the eight innings relievers pitched in Thursday’s doubleheader in San Francisco after the late scratch of Walker Buehler.

Of the last 21 games, starters have pitched less than five innings 11 times, taxing a bullpen that came into the game with the National League’s lowest ERA.

McGee, signed July 21 after being released by Colorado, came into the game with a 0.79 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. But he allowed a tie-breaking home run to Derek Dietrich that triggered a four-run inning and retired only one of five batters faced. followed and allowed an RBI double and a sacrifice fly

“The bottom line is that the ball wasn’t where he wanted it to be,” Roberts said of McGee. “It was kind of missing middle and cutting across instead of staying more true. Jake’s been great for us. Nights like that are going to happen. Flo’s been great for us. Our bullpen has been fantastic.”