Dodgers are at a loss to explain another one-run defeat
The excessive heat warnings in Citizens Bank Park, where the combination of mid-90s temperatures and 60% humidity created a heat index of 104 degrees, did not extend to the Dodgers’ bat rack.
An offense that produced 13 runs and 24 hits, including four homers, in the first two games of the series went cold in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies before a sweaty crowd of 26,122 on Thursday.
The Dodgers mustered only three hits off Phillies starter Ranger Suarez and four relievers, two of them infield singles, and went hitless after Austin Barnes’ one-out single in the fifth, their four-game win streak coming to an end.
Spot-starter Mitch White gave up two runs and three hits in four innings, and relievers Alex Vesia, Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl and Kenley Jansen each threw scoreless innings, capping a superb series in which the bullpen combined for 14 2/3 scoreless innings. The Phillies managed only four hits themselves on Thursday.
But the Dodgers missed a chance for a series sweep because they were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize on a pair of gift walks and a hit batter in the ninth inning, which ended with Billy McKinney flying out to left field with the bases loaded off Phillies closer Ian Kennedy.
Trevor Bauer and his attorneys say the pitcher does not plan to discuss a financial settlement with the woman who has accused him of sexual assault.
“We can’t blame it on the heat,” Barnes said. “It’s the same for both teams. It’s definitely hot out there, but that’s never an excuse to not have energy. They just did a good job of keeping us off-balance, and we couldn’t get any traction offensively. We’ve got to do a better job of just trying to get on first base and doing the little things.”
The Dodgers’ struggles in extra innings — they are 1-12 in overtime this season — have been well-chronicled, but they have quietly gone 13-21 in one-run games, another surprising statistic for a team with the second-best record in the National League. Only the Marlins and Diamondbacks have lost more one-run games.
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer had his paid administrative leave extended Friday to Aug. 20. Commissioner Rob Manfred has decisions to make on potential discipline.
“I wouldn’t have guessed that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “A loss is still a loss. I would expect going forward to win more one-run games, but I can’t explain it. I’m sure if you look at each game, there’s a defensive play, an at-bat or pitch here or there, that could have flipped it. But that’s baseball.”
White, activated off the taxi squad Thursday, was efficient through three innings, needing only 34 pitches to record nine outs, his only blemish a 95-mph fastball that Bryce Harper lined into the left-center field seats for a solo homer in the first inning.
“I threw a bad first-pitch curve out of the zone to Bryce, and I think he was on the heater,” White said. “I threw it down, but it was down-middle, and he put a good swing on it and hit it the other way.”
The right-hander seemed to wilt in a 25-pitch fourth when he issued a one-out walk to Harper and a two-out walk to Didi Gregorius. Ronald Torreyes grounded an RBI single to center, just out of the reach of diving second baseman Trea Turner, for a 2-0 lead.
Torreyes stole second, and Travis Jankowski walked to load the bases, but White got Andrew Knapp to fly to center to end the inning.
“It was solid for the first three innings, and in the fourth, when they got a runner on, I kind of got out of sync out of the stretch,” White said. “I have to work on separating the feeling of going from the stretch with runners on and no one on.”
The Dodgers cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth when Barnes reached on a one-out infield single, McKinney walked, the runners advanced on an Enyel De Los Santos wild pitch and Barnes scored on Trea Turner’s groundout to shortstop.
Cody Bellinger’s two-run home run leads the Dodgers to an 8-2 win over the Phillies on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Turner was called out on a close play in which first baseman Brad Miller had to stretch toward the right-field line for the throw, his foot coming off the bag. The Dodgers challenged, but the call was upheld by instant replay.
“I looked at [the replay], and what’s interesting is that umpires are trained to listen for sound on force plays,” Roberts said. “As I heard it from Alfonso [Marquez, home-plate umpire and crew chief], on replay, it’s more of a visual thing.
“So when the ball is touching the glove and not secured, it still counts as a possession. If you look at the replay, the ball was not in the glove as far as being caught, but it was touching the glove, and that’s why it wasn’t overturned.”
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