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FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Rangers – Series 21

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Los Angeles Dodgers (39-26)  |  Texas Rangers (25-41)

 

“Baseball is like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.”

– Tommy Lasorda

 

Game 3:

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler withstood an uncharacteristic bout of early wildness to beat the Rangers, continuing to anchor an impressive rotation, and the Dodgers held on to win 5-3 over Texas on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

It was a leisurely stroll in the park for the Dodgers, with a five-run lead to start the ninth inning, but Phil Bickford retired none of the four batters he faced. Kenley Jansen was called in to clean up the mess and, though he allowed two singles of his to score one of his two inherited runners, he was able to record the final three outs for his 15th save of the season.

Texas scored three in the ninth but left the bases loaded. Those were the Rangers’ only three runs of the game.

Texas loaded the bases with three walks against Buehler in the first, who also struck out two of his first five batters faced. When Nick Solak grounded out to third base to end the threat, it was the first ball in play against Buehler in a 33-pitch opening frame.

It was the best scoring chance Texas had all day against Buehler, who scattered five singles and a hit by pitch without walking a batter after the first. For the second time this week, Buehler did not allow a run, this time in six innings.

“After that first inning, to see that he put up six zeroes is a credit to him,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Every time he takes the ball, he’s expected to go deep into the game, and he’s done that for us.”

Two starts ago, Buehler said how important it was to get through at least six or seven innings every time out, adding, “Five innings feels a little copout-y.”

So far this season, Buehler has pitched at least six innings in all 13 of his starts, and on the team that leads the majors in innings per start, Buehler leads the Dodgers in that department, averaging 6.41 innings per outing.

The two scoreless starts lowered Buehler’s ERA to 2.38. He only has 17 walks in 13 starts this season.

Buehler also leads the team in first-pitch outs (29), including four on Sunday. Rangers batters also hit into outs six times on the second pitch of the at-bat against him.

“You’re trying to throw good, quality strikes early in the count and set up some things,” Buehler explained. “If you’re doing that well and they hit it and swing early, then you got them out of there pretty quick. If not, hopefully, you’re ahead, then you’re looking to try to do something else.

“It’s a singular game plan that, if you execute, you can have some success.”

Buehler struck out five on Sunday, improving to 6-0 on the season.

“The goal is to get outs. When he needs a strikeout, he’s shown the ability to get a strikeout,” Roberts said before Sunday’s game. “But I’m more concerned about getting outs efficiently.”

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Mookie Betts paced the Dodgers offense, scoring three of the five runs thanks to two hits and a walk, including his second home run in four days. The three runs scored for Betts is a season-high.

“I’ve been late a lot. A lot of ground balls and lazy pop-ups, so I’m really just trying to get the barrel to the ball and make some solid contact,” Betts said. “I don’t necessarily know exactly what I need to do, which is the frustrating part. But that’s part of the game, and you have to find a way.”

With Justin Turner getting a day off, Zach McKinstry got the call at third base, his second straight start. Since returning from missing six weeks with an oblique strain, McKinstry was just 2-for-23 (.087), but on Sunday, he doubled home two runs in the third inning, part of a three-hit day plus a walk in the series finale.

Gavin Lux also doubled home a run in a two-hit day.

 

Game 3 Boxscore:

 

WP: Walker Buehler (6-0)

LP: Dane Dunning (2-5)

SV: Kenley Jansen (15)

HR: Mookie Betts (7)

 

Philadelphia comes to town for three games to finish off the Dodgers homestand. The series starts Monday night with the first pitch slated for 7:10 on can be seen on SportsNet LA and  MLB Network for out-of-town fans. Tony Gonsolin makes his second start since getting activated off the injured list, facing Phillies right-hander Spencer Howard in the series opener.

 

 

Game 2:

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Trevor Bauer allowed season highs in runs and hits, the Dodgers struggled against a left-handed starting pitcher again, and the Texas Rangers clobbered the home team 12-1 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

Amid reports that MLB planned to crack down league-wide on using foreign substances on the baseball, Bauer told reporters after the start in Atlanta, “I just want to compete on a fair playing field.”

Bauer on Saturday against Texas allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits. He suffered the loss, while the Rangers won a road game for the first time since May 6.

“The one that hurts was I couldn’t consistently land my curveball,” Bauer said. “For whatever reason to lefties, I couldn’t land it. That was the one that was the most difficult to navigate around.”

Trailing by four runs after six innings, manager Dave Roberts tried to buy a few outs from Bauer rather than tax the bullpen, but Bauer allowed two more runs in the frame.

“I think it was really important to win a series, to spell some other guys, keep other guys fresh,” Roberts said. “Obviously, you want to throw up zeroes, but still, the value of being able to go into the seventh inning was a positive.”

The 12 runs and 17 hits allowed by the Dodgers pitching staff on Saturday are season highs. Saturday got so out of hand that newcomer Andy Burns, who got called up earlier Saturday for his first major league start — at second base — finished the game on the mound in the ninth. He allowed a two-run home run but also struck out a batter—a pitcher who was batting, anyway.

On the other side, Kolby Allard confounded the Dodgers through five scoreless innings. Despite the Dodgers stacking their lineup with seven right-handed position players, Allard’s outing was the 18th time in 20 games that a left-handed starter has allowed three or fewer runs against the Dodgers.

Entering Saturday, the Dodgers were hitting .226/.319/.396 against southpaws, which is bad for a team with this many good hitters. That held true again on Saturday, with Allard pitching five scoreless frames, while Taylor Hearn allowed a home run in the seventh, one of two innings pitched in relief by Rangers lefties.

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

Texas ran wild on the bases all night, perhaps sometimes a little too wild. For the second time in a week, the Dodgers got an out on an appeal play for someone missing a base. A little different than Ke’Bryan Hayes’ non-homer home run on Monday, this time Adolis Garcia scored from second base on a Joey Gallo single to right field in the third inning.

But when Garcia got to third base, he briefly thought the ball was caught in right field, and after touching the bag, retreated a few steps back toward second base. Then, when he realized he could score easily on the play, Garcia turned back toward home, only he failed to touch third base as he passed. He was called out on appeal.

Despite the faux pas, the Rangers still scored two runs in the inning, both unearned thanks to Mookie Betts uncharacteristically botching a fly ball in center field to open the frame. The final out of the inning was by Nate Lowe, who singled home Gallo, but was thrown out at second base. An odd inning all around.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa stole second base in the third inning after stealing second and third in the first inning. Gallo also stole a bag in the third, giving the Rangers four steals against Bauer and Will Smith, the most off any Dodgers pitcher in a game this season. Bauer only allowed six steals in his first 13 starts combined.

“He just didn’t vary his times as much as he probably could have,” Roberts said.

 

Game 2 Boxscore:

 

WP: Kolby Allard (2-2)

LP: Trevor Bauer (6-5)

HR: AJ Pollock (5); Jonah Heim (3), Nate Lowe (9), Jason Martin (1)

 

Walker Buehler starts for the Dodgers with right-hander Dane Dunning pitching for Texas on Sunday afternoon. The first pitch is slated for 1:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA and  MLB Network for those who are in an out-of-town market.

 

Game 1:

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Friday night’s game at Chavez Ravine was essentially locked into the win column by the first inning, but the Dodgers still suffered some losses in their 12-1 blowout of the Rangers.

Max Muncy homered in the first inning, then only a few minutes later, his night was over because of right side tightness, felt on a swing before his home run in the first inning. Muncy was replaced at first base by Albert Pujols.

“I’m really hesitant to say an oblique, but that’s where it was at,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Muncy’s was one of three Dodgers home runs in the first inning, building a 6-0 lead over Mike Foltynewicz. They scored plenty more, including home runs by Pujols and Will Smith in the fourth against reliever Hyeon-Jong Yang.

A single by Cody Bellinger in the fifth — his third time reaching base in four trips — gave the Dodgers the 11th run, but after limping to first base, Bellinger was removed from the game. On his way back to the dugout, Bellinger could be heard on the SportsNet LA broadcast saying “cramp,” and the Dodgers later announced Bellinger had left hamstring tightness.

Bellinger felt tightness while getting out of the way of a wild pitch from Brett de Geus.

Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he planned to rest Bellinger on Saturday, in the midst of nine days in a row for the Dodgers. As of now, both Muncy and Bellinger are day today.

Neither player one was sent for tests or scans. The Dodgers will wait to see how both feel on Saturday.

“Right now, I’m going to kind of hold on to hope that it’ll be short-term, if any lost time for both guys,” Roberts said.

 

Dodgers vs Rangers
Photo Credit: John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mookie Betts also hit by a pitch for the eighth time this season, tying his career-high. The Dodgers still have 99 games left on the schedule.

While the offense grabbed the headlines on Friday, Clayton Kershaw had a good bounce-back start after allowing five runs in each of his last two games. He held Texas scoreless until surrendering an unearned run in the sixth and struck out nine on the night.

Kershaw induced 21 swinging strikes on Friday, his third-highest total in a start this season. His 29-percent strikeout rate is his highest since 2017.

In the “you don’t see this everyday” moment of the game, Kershaw struck out four batters in the fourth inning, with Adolis García reaching first base on a wild pitch. Four strikeouts match the major league record for an inning. It’s been done eight times by a Dodgers pitcher, with Sergio Santos the last before Kershaw, on May 16, 2015. Kershaw also had two hits and drove in a run at the plate.

The five home runs are a season-high for the Dodgers. The previous best was four homers when they were at home against Colorado on April 13.

 

Game 1 Boxscore:

 

WP: Clayton Kershaw (8-5)

LP: Mike Foltynewicz (1-7)

HR: Max Muncy (14), Justin Turner (12), Gavin Lux (6), Albert Pujols (10), Will Smith (6)

 

 

Trevor Bauer starts the middle game of the series tonight. The first pitch is at 7:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA or MLB Network for out of market Dodgers fans. Left-hander Kolby Allard on the mound for Texas.

 

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– Joe Arrigo

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