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Dodgers

Dodgers again get set up for a loss, this time to the Blue Jays, 5-2

The Dodgers calling the Angels to see if they would trade Mike Trout? That’s a bunch of sports-talk blather. Trout isn’t going anywhere.

The Dodgers ought to call the Angels, though, to see if they would trade Joe Smith.

The eighth inning doomed the Dodgers again Friday. Their latest setup guy, Joe Blanton, gave up the game-winning home run in that inning, a three-run shot by Kevin Pillar that powered the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-2 victory over the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have six bullpen losses, the most of any National League team except the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers’ earned-run average in the eighth inning: 7.14.

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Smith is a proven setup man with a softer repertoire, much like Darren O’Day, the free agent the Dodgers tried to sign in the off-season. The Dodgers this season have tried Chris Hatcher, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell and now Blanton.

Kenta Maeda

Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda gave up two runs in six innings against the Blue Jays on Friday in Toronto.

(Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images)

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said he is not yet ready to ask the front office for reinforcements, whether via a trade or a minor league callup.

“At this point, no,” Roberts said.

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Clayton Kershaw starts Saturday, and the Dodgers might reasonably plan to get 27 outs from Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen.

The rest of the time, when the Dodgers need a bridge between the starters and Jansen? Roberts is keeping the faith.

“I like our guys,” he said. “There’s been some very good innings. They’re victims of one pitch, two bad pitches, but they’re big pitches. Those are things that we obviously have to eliminate.”

The Dodgers did a lot of things right Friday, before the eighth inning went so wrong.

They got six solid innings out of Kenta Maeda, who has lasted at least six innings in all six of his starts. He gave up two hits, but one was a home run, a 435-foot shot by Jose Bautista. The home run followed a walk to Josh Donaldson, and the Blue Jays had the only two runs they would get against Maeda.

They got spectacular defensive plays from Yasiel Puig in right field — throwing out Darwin Barney trying to stretch a single into a double — Justin Turner at third base and Corey Seager at shortstop. They got two hits apiece from Turner, Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson and Chase Utley.

They got Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays’ ace, out of the game after seven innings, with the score tied, 2-2. The Dodgers’ bullpen might have six losses, but the Toronto bullpen has nine.

“I liked our chances to win the last three innings,” Roberts said.

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Roberts turned to his bullpen for those last three innings. Louis Coleman started the seventh, faced two batters and got two outs. Adam Liberatore followed, faced three batters and got no outs. Blanton rushed in, retired American League most valuable player Donaldson on a pop foul, and returned for the eighth.

Bautista flied out, deep. Edwin Encarnacion doubled. The Dodgers intentionally walked the switch-hitting Justin Smoak, setting up Blanton to face Pillar and Russell Martin.

“He gets righties out,” Roberts said. “He’s been throwing arguably the best of our [noncloser] guys in the ‘pen.”

This isn’t on Blanton. The Dodgers signed him as a long reliever. Maybe the current bullpen rights itself. Perhaps the Dodgers move Alex Wood or Ross Stripling there when the injured starters return, or put Mike Bolsinger there. The Dodgers could try a prospect or two in the bullpen — Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Jharel Cotton or Lisalverto Bonilla. If the internal options do not suffice, a trade might.

The status quo? Probably not.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter: @BillShaikin


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