OK, show of hands – how many of you turned tonight’s contest off in the 7th? After a two and a half hour rain delay, and what had all the makings of another Dodger victory after another Rockies bullpen meltdown, I’m sure lots of folks were discouraged. ESPN2 threw up the graphic about how lopsided this year has been: 9 Dodger wins, only 3 for Rockies. They all but counted the 10th.
The first six innings went fairly well. Bolsinger looked like he had no idea how to get his curveball to break, and it was clearly frustrating him. Blackmon greeted a hanger leading off the 1st, driven in by Tulo for the early lead. The Dodgers came back after a brief hailstorm, putting together a couple of hits and scoring on a throw from CarGo that hit Kendrick coming into third (really, really tough to back up that play).
In the 3rd, Bettis took my pregrame advice, drilling Pederson in the elbow. Probably didn’t mean to hit him, but it was definitely a hard inside message. More on that later. Props to Pederson for taking his lump without incident.
In the 5th, Bettis issued a walk to Pederson, followed by a Turner double, and the Dodgers were back ahead. In the bottom of the frame, the top of the Rox lineup was back for more – Blackmon single, LeMahieu single, and Tulo was first pitch swinging again. Except this time, he hit the ball in the left field seats for a 4-2 lead. Bolsinger looked shaken, like his lunch money depended on keeping his ERA below 1.5 or something.
Then we move to the 7th. Bettis was at 102 pitches, so Walt goes for Friedrich. ESPN2 kept touting their pre-game access, saying Walt admitted that Logan and Betancourt would be down tonight. The wear and tear of 4 high stress games in 3 days showed. Friedrich struck out Hernandez, then gave up three straight singles to Pederson, Turner, and Gonzalez. Brooks Brown came in and really hosed things up, four straight balls to Kendrick, and a single to Ethier, followed by another walk. Sutcliffe was muttering, “You can’t do that at this level.” Yes, we can Rick, it’s a fairly regular occurrence actually. Oberg came in and got Buerrero to GIDP, but the damage was done – 5-4 Dodgers.
As for pitching Pederson tough inside to keep him from extending his arms … Oberg apparently missed that text, and Pederson took him oppo in the 8th. The Rockies went very quietly in the bottom of the inning, 1-2-3 to Liberatore. Axford held up his end of the 9th without damage, pitching around a double by Gonzalez.
It was odd though, Mattingly wouldn’t admit he had Kenley Jensen down. He had everybody except Jensen warming, but stayed with Liberatore. McKenry came in and singled, followed by a Blackmon ground rule double. Trip to mound, in comes Yimi Garcia. Several pitches a foot outside and he walks LeMahieu in a tough at bat. I’m thinking of my headline; Tulo drives in 8! Fitting revenge for last night and that shot of Tulo sitting in the dugout, watching the Dodgers celebrate their win. In another tough AB, Tulo walks. Trip to mound, in comes JP Howell. The first pitch he throws gets by a lazy effort by Grandal, GAME TIED. Howell intentionally walks CarGo. Trip to mound. Chris Hatcher, with Ethier doing his left-handed second baseman impersonation on the five man infield.
ARE YOU HIGH? Tie game, bases loaded, no outs, and five man infield?
Mattingly mismanaging mightily. #Rockies
— Don Dingee (@DonnyDinger) June 4, 2015
Call Mike Scioscia and ask how it’s actually supposed to be used. All Arenado needs to do is lift a sac fly into a spacious two-man outfield and this is a RoxWalkOff. And that’s exactly the way it happened.
Like I said in the pre-game, rarely can an outcome be pinned on one play, and tonight’s 7-6 win was a team effort. There was the usual Arenado clinic in the infield. Brandon Barnes made three plays in LF that could have been big problems, including thumping the wall on a backhand catch (in a hard rain, no less), and hunting down another drive in the gap. Blackmon went 4-for-5, was he excited to be on national TV or what (he poached Eduardo Perez’ water bottle during that video room bit)? Tulo was 2-for-3 with 2 BBs and his 5 RBIs. Descalso got a pinch hit single, as did McKenry.
Don’t go away mad, Dodgers, just go away. Pretty cool to see someone else’s pen smoking at the end of a series for a change.