LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers had just won five of six, scored 13 runs Tuesday night then inducted Vin Scully into the Ring of Honor prior to Wednesday night's homestand finale.But a 4-1 loss to the Giants in 11 innings exposed a handful of issues that management can work on
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers had just won five of six, scored 13 runs Tuesday night then inducted Vin Scully into the Ring of Honor prior to Wednesday night's homestand finale.
But a 4-1 loss to the Giants in 11 innings exposed a handful of issues that management can work on while the team takes a scheduled day off Thursday.
Do they send Cody Bellinger back to the Minor Leagues to make room for the return of Joc Pederson? Or do they send one of their unproductive 30-something stalwarts Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Utley to the disabled list to heal and regroup? And how is it that John Forsythe, on a rehab assignment for one injury (a broken toe), leaves a game early with a setback from another injury (tight hamstring)? Then Thursday night, Rich Hill and his blister get a rehab test.
The Dodgers have stayed afloat with starting pitching depth, which included for the second time this year Wednesday night pitcher Julio Urias, who was effective if not efficient. He made it five scoreless innings, but by the 11th the Dodgers were out of fresh relievers.
Afterward, the media shifted into second-guess mode with manager Dave Roberts for playing his infield back in the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead, Hunter Pence on third base and slugger Buster Posey up. Posey grounded out to second baseman Utley and Pence scored the tying run.
"We had the infield back at home," Roberts explained. "Buster's up, an elite hitter. So we tried to play for the tie to still have an at-bat to extend the game, versus nobody out, play in, a seeing-eye hit gets through and the inning keeps going. If we had him in -- you can't play that game -- I still think it's a hit. I just felt with the hitter-pitcher matchup, I'll take extend the game."
Thomas Stripling was pitching his second inning in relief. Pence led off with a single, and with Posey up, Stripling bounced a breaking ball that pinballed off catcher Yasmani Grandal and umpire Hunter Wendelstedt as Pence raced to third. When Posey hit the grounder, though, Stripling thought he might have escaped the threat.
"It's certainly above my pay grade making decisions like that, but like I said, off the bat, I thought it was an out and I turned around and he was playing back and that kind of stinks," said Stripling.
Of course, Dodgers pitchers had little margin for error in this game. Giants starter Jeff Samardzija allowed only an unearned run off a three-base error, striking out 11 without a walk in an otherwise Kershaw-like start.
"This is as good as I've seen him," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
He couldn't say that about Urias.
"I thought Julio, he pitched behind a lot and I thought the command wasn't as sharp as we've seen it," said Roberts. "A credit to him, he makes pitches."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.