Dodgers Show Depth in Ugly Win Over Padres

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Most people around baseball agree that the Los Angeles Dodgers are a deep team, and what better way for them to show depth than to win in 12 innings against the newly-remodeled San Diego Padres? This series has been hyped up since the Padres went on their spending spree in the off-season. People seem to think that this is the start of a rivalry between the two best teams in baseball, and NL West competitors. Friday night’s game did not disappoint. It was 12 innings of good, intense, back and forth action. Both teams had opportunities to win this game in nine, but they both squandered opportunities with costly errors. They each had 12 hits and committed three errors. Furthermore, both teams capitalized on the errors that the other made. The difference-maker was depth.

Both Teams Show Depth, or Lack Of

The longer that the game went on, the more depleted the Padres got. This is evidenced by the fact that the Padres pitcher in the 12th, was none other than Jake Cronenworth. Cronenworth is a middle-infielder, not a pitcher, though he does have some pitching experience. He pitched 7.1 innings in his 2019 stint in triple-A and was a closer for the University of Michigan before that. So, Cronenworth is no slouch on the mound. He came in and earned the pitching highlight of his life when he struck out Mookie Betts in the 12th inning. Unfortunately, he had already started the 12th with the lowlight of his MLB pitching career when Corey Seager smashed the first pitch he saw over the wall for a leadoff 2-run blast. The Dodgers would then tack on three more insurance runs to make it a five-run 12th.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, had Cy Young-winning pitcher David Price on the mound in the 12th. Not only did Price pitch a one, two, three 12th, but he had also just hit an RBI sac-fly in the top of the inning. He was not a pinch hitter. Price came into the game to start the 11th, then made short work of the Padres in what eventually became the last two innings.  He ended the day with four strikeouts, a flyout, a groundout, and an intentional walk. Either the Padres were out of bench depth or they thought that Joe Musgrove was due, because he came in to play left-field before coming up to bat in the 12th. Unfortunately, he did not have the same success at the plate that Price enjoyed. Musgrove struck out quickly on straight strikes.

The Ugly Part

Both teams played ugly baseball at times in the game. The Padres’ runs were all earned, but bad throws and other mental errors caused runs to score that otherwise would not have. Only seven of the Dodgers’ runs were earned. So if you take out the unearned runs, it is a 7-6 ballgame. If you take out the errors, then the game likely could have gone either way. Also, there was a benches-clearing altercation after Jorge Mateo was hit in the thigh with a Dennis Santana breaking ball in the 10th. No punches or anything physical happened, and no one was ejected. It is always ugly to see benches cleared though, and even the bullpens in this case.

In the top of the sixth, it was 2-1 Padres with men on first and third, and two outs. Chris Taylor hit it hard towards Fernando Tatis Jr. The play was set to end the inning until Tatis threw the ball away. Instead of ending the inning with a force-out, Taylor ended up at third base and two runs had crossed the plate making it 3-2 Dodgers. The next batter struck out, but not before Keone Kela threw a wild pitch and Taylor scored. The Dodgers returned the favor in the next inning when there was an inning-ending double-play ball hit to Justin Turner. Turner threw it to Zack McKinstry at second for one, then McKinstry threw it away and the Padres scored a run making it 4-3 Dodgers.

Bottom of the Ninth

In the bottom of the ninth the score was 6-5 Dodgers, and closer Kenley Jansen came back out to complete the four-out-close. He had entered and gotten the last out of the eighth on three pitches. Things were looking good for the Dodgers after Jansen quickly retired Tatis and Cronenworth. He then walked Manny Machado after borderline strike-three was called a ball. Machado appeared shaken up a bit after swinging out of his shoes a couple of pitches prior but did not see a trainer until he had walked. Machado then attempted his second stolen base of the game.

Will Smith made a good throw that would have made the play very close. However, Seager started going for the tag before catching the ball, and it bounced off his glove. If Seager would have caught the ball properly, then the Dodgers would have won right then. Whether the ball and tag got there in time became irrelevant because Machado slid past the bag. So, he would have been out regardless of whether it was before or after he got to the base. The game would have ended after nine, but it did not, and Jansen blew another lead when it counted after Machado advanced to third on a wild pitch, and Eric Hosmer singled him in.

Dodgers Show Depth While Padres Show Creativity

We learned a few things in Game One of the first of many meetings between these two powerhouses. We learned that the Padres are legit contenders this year. They have shown that they can hang with the Dodgers through nine, even if their starter does not even get through four innings. However, the Padres are not quite at the Dodgers’ level yet. This is not to say that they cannot be by the end of the year, but they have weaknesses that need to be addressed. Even after losing Mike Clevinger for the whole season, their rotation is still pretty strong. They do need to tighten up their bullpen. They also need a couple more bench players. This way, they do not have a starting pitcher playing left-field and batting with the game on the line again.

The Dodgers were able to show depth in this one, while the Padres were able to show creativity in places that they could not show depth. It is going to be an exciting season this year, especially when these two teams play. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball right now at 12-2 and are on a 7-game winning streak. The Padres are tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the second-best record in the National League at 8-5. Sometimes creativity is enough to win games, however, the Padres need to show depth as well if they want to win a championship. There will be many more wild games to come as the season gets going. Get ready for the ride.

 

 

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Players Mentioned:

Jake Cronenworth, Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, David Price, Joe Musgrove, Chris Taylor, Fernando Tatis, Keone Kela, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Manny Machado, Zack McKinstry, Mike Clevinger, Dennis Santana, Will Smith, Eric Hosmer