Loss of Josh Fields throws off Dodgers’ bullpen
Josh Fields was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right-shoulder inflammation on Thursday, throwing the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen into a state of flux.
Fields, 32, has been the team’s primary right-handed setup man, going 2-2 with a 2.36 ERA and two saves in 37 appearances, striking out 28 and walking nine in 34 1/3 innings.
Left-hander Scott Alexander will remain in a setup role, but the loss of Fields, whose injury is not expected to sideline him for much longer than 10 days, will thrust right-handers Yimi Garcia and Erik Goeddel into more higher-leverage situations.
Goeddel was roughed up for four runs and four hits in Thursday’s 11-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
“I don’t know,” manager Dave Roberts said, when asked who would slide into Fields’ eighth-inning slot. “It’s more how they’ve been used previously, how each guy is performing, how a certain matchup against a particular right-handed hitter looks.”
Fields has given up only four earned runs over his last 19 innings (1.89 ERA) since May 8 and limited batters to a .172 average. Roberts said Fields “felt something in his shoulder” after pitching Tuesday night against the Cubs, and the soreness did not subside Wednesday.
“He’s been throwing the ball great, but his body is in a certain place right now, and we have to acknowledge that,” Roberts said. “But I think he’ll be ready to come back when his [DL stint] is up.”
Max Muncy had a better day at the plate Thursday than he did in the field, where the first baseman lost a popup by Albert Almora Jr. in the sun that dropped for a key hit in Chicago’s seven-run seventh inning.
Muncy walked in the first inning. He drove a 92-mph fastball from Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana into the left-field seats for an opposite-field homer in the third for a 2-0 lead. He struck out in the fifth, walked in the seventh and singled off Cubs closer Brandon Morrow in the ninth.
The left-handed-hitting Muncy was out of baseball for a few weeks after Oakland released him in spring training of 2017. He signed with the Dodgers last April and spent all of last season at triple A.
Muncy was recalled April 17 and has emerged as one of the National League’s best hitters, with a .266 average, 1.025 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, and a team-high 17 homers and 35 RBIs in 169 at-bats over 58 games.
Muncy has hit 10 of his 17 homers in June, a month in which he is batting .296 with a 1.225 OPS, 16 runs, 16 RBIs, 25 walks and 20 strikeouts.
“It’s really no longer a surprise,” Roberts said. “He’s having good at-bats. Even his last at-bat against Morrow, he takes a 94-mph cut fastball and lines it to right-center. To take a left-hander the other way out of the ballpark, to take couple of walks … in the batter’s box, there’s a lot to like.”
Joy ride over
Goeddel did not give up an earned run in 14 1/3 innings of his first 13 games for the Dodgers after being claimed off waivers from Seattle on May 18.
The right-hander gave up a three-run double to Anthony Rizzo and a two-run homer to Addison Russell in the seventh inning Thursday and has yielded eight earned runs and seven hits in four innings of his last four games, bumping his ERA to 3.16.
“Erik’s been very good for us, but the last few have been a little shaky,” Roberts said. “I don’t think his pitch execution is what it was earlier.”
Justin Turner’s two-run homer in the ninth inning Thursday was the 53rd in June for the Dodgers, tying the franchise record for homers in a month, set in June 2017. … Enrique Hernandez had two clutch hits Thursday, a two-out RBI single in the second inning and a two-out RBI double in the fourth. ... Shortstop Chris Taylor returned to the lineup after being limited by a sore left hamstring to a pinch-hitting for seven games. He doubled to left field in the first but was hitless in his next four at-bats.
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