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Bad week continues for Dodgers with another loss to Phillies

Gavin Stone pitches during the third inning.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
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Here’s a list of everything that’s gone wrong for Dodgers pitchers this week:

Tyler Glasnow was placed on the injured list Tuesday because of back tightness, reigniting fears of his injury-prone past after a strong opening half to the season.

Bobby Miller was demoted to the minors after giving up nine runs Tuesday night, getting a much-needed “reset,” as manager Dave Roberts put it, given his 8.07 earned-run average.

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Then, the Dodgers’ best healthy pitcher, Gavin Stone, took some lumps in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, giving up four runs (all earned, though his defense was equally to blame for at least a couple) in fewer than five innings against a star-studded lineup the Dodgers very well could see again in October.

The good news?

Kiké Hernández got four outs at the end of Tuesday’s blowout.

Other than that, it’s been a bleak week.

A day after getting rocked for nine runs by the Phillies, in what was the latest clunker of a disappointing season, Bobby Miller was optioned to triple-A Oklahoma City.

July 10, 2024

“This was a frustrating one,” Roberts said. “We had some opportunities that we couldn’t capitalize.”

Stone didn’t pitch poorly. While Kyle Schwarber got him for a leadoff home run in the first inning, the Phillies’ one-run second and two-run fifth both were keyed by misplays from the Dodgers’ defense.

In the second, Miguel Vargas failed to reel in a line drive in left, leading to a leadoff double that came around to score. In the fifth — just after the Dodgers erased their early, two-run deficit — center fielder Andy Pages lost a fly ball in the lights, turning a routine out into a leadoff triple. Then, with two outs, shortstop Miguel Rojas couldn’t cleanly field a difficult ground ball from Trea Turner, leading to the Phillies’ go-ahead run.

“Gavin was fine, he settled in nicely,” Roberts said. “But I think that with him, he needs his defense. That’s just the way it is.”

Indeed, instead of compensating for the miscues made behind him, Stone fell well short of dominance. He collected just three strikeouts. He gave up nine hits. And, for a second consecutive start, he couldn’t complete five innings, getting replaced with two outs in the fifth after throwing 77 pitches.

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“Just made a couple mistakes,” Stone said, “and they took advantage of it.”

Considering the opponent — the Phillies own baseball’s best record and trail only the Dodgers in scoring among National League clubs — it was an understandable result.

A more clinical performance from the Dodgers’ offense might have altered the outcome, as well.

Despite going four for 11 with runners in scoring position, the team stranded multiple runners on base in the fifth and seventh innings. In the latter frame, there was a peculiar moment when pinch-hitter James Outman struck out after deciding — on his own, according to Roberts — to bunt at the first two pitches.

Then, in the eighth, the Dodgers’ best chance to rally was dashed when Rojas was called out trying to extend an RBI single into a double — a controversial call since it appeared Rojas’ cleat was pushed off second base by Phillies infielder Bryson Stott.

“I was trying to lobby that Stott coerced him off the bag,” Roberts said. “But that’s a judgment call, and they didn’t see that.”

Still, given the crumbling state of the Dodgers pitching staff — the team also remains without Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw — more will be expected of Stone against talented opposition too.

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That’s because Stone is looking like one of the few safe bets to start games come October.

Alec Bohm, left, is tagged out by Austin Barnes while trying to score in the fifth inning
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

He still is 9-3 with a 3.26 ERA. He was one of the bigger snubs from the NL All-Star team (especially after being bypassed to replace Glasnow). And he’s been the Dodgers’ most consistent starter, a rare ray of light amid their growing pitching darkness.

On Wednesday, though, Stone couldn’t clear out the storm clouds completely.

Instead, amid another long day on and off the field for the Dodgers’ beleaguered pitching staff, he became the latest victim of poor execution, bad luck and losing results in a week that has been full of them.

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