3 takeaways: Defense, Price, NL West race

July 19th, 2021

DENVER -- The Dodgers have one of the best records in the Majors, but securing wins in extra innings has been an issue for them this season. Those struggles continued against the Rockies on Sunday.

Charlie Blackmon hit a walk-off homer off right-hander in the 10th inning of a 6-5 loss at Coors Field. The Dodgers (58-36) are now a Majors-worst 1-9 in extra-inning games this season. The loss also snapped an eight-game winning streak against the Rockies.

“I would assume that it’ll sort of even itself out,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We have to be better in extra innings, but I still think that overall we’re doing OK in the win-loss column.”

Defense struggles
While and Bickford each blew a save on Sunday, the Dodgers’ biggest issue came from their glovework. They have a good defensive team, but they’ve suffered from shaky defensive games all season long. The series finale certainly falls into that category.

Los Angeles had two errors, none more costly than a dropped popup by in the fifth inning that allowed the Rockies to tie the game at 2. Taylor, who called off at the last moment, appeared to have lost the ball in the sun.

, who continued to swing a hot bat with a two-run homer in the third, also had a forgettable day on defense. Turner committed an error in the first and didn’t make a play on a Matt Adams single in the seventh, though that was a tough play on a ball that had an exit velocity of 100 mph.

Still, the Dodgers have now committed 59 errors this season, and it’s an area the team will have to improve on in the second half.

“We’ve just been inconsistent,” Roberts said. “I think that’s pretty much been the season. We have a really good ballclub, but when you give teams extra outs, sometimes it’s tough to overcome.”

Price continues his buildup
If there was one positive for the Dodgers on Sunday, it was that continued his buildup as a starter and looked sharp doing it.

Price allowed one run and struck out four over four innings. Getting through four innings was a huge success for Price and the Dodgers, as that allows him to be available for five innings in his next start, which will likely come on Friday in Los Angeles against the Rockies.

It was Price’s longest outing of the season and his longest since July 30, 2019, when he went 4 1/3 innings as a member of the Red Sox.

“[Last year] was a year to kind of recover and get fully healthy,” Price said. “This is kind of where I’m accustomed to feeling, both on the mound and post-starts and post-outings and the days in between. I’m happy to be healthy out there and it feels good.”

As encouraging as the length was, the quality of the stuff was also very encouraging. Price recorded a season-high 10 swings and misses on Sunday, six of them coming on his four-seam fastball. Price maxed out at 95 mph and the fastball was up 0.6 mph from his season average.

“Overall, I thought it was a good day,” said Dodgers catcher . “He’s going to be a big part in the second half.”

Next up: Giants
The Dodgers couldn’t take advantage of an opportunity to tie the Giants atop the National League West standings for the first time since April 28, but they’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so over the next 10 days.

Los Angeles and San Francisco will meet for seven games in that span, starting with a four-game set opening at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The Dodgers will have Tony Gonsolin on the mound and the Giants will counter with ace Kevin Gausman.

“It’s important to play good baseball,” Roberts said. “Those guys have had a really nice year. I think it comes down to pitching, timely hitting and playing good defense, so that’s kind of the formula. But when you’re playing a team you’re chasing, it’s important to win those games.”