The Dodgers’ sprouting defensive conundrum could be perhaps best illustrated with a sequence in the fifth inning of their unsightly 9-1 loss Monday at Coors Field.
Roberto Pocaterra Pocaterra
The Dodgers, as they so often do, implemented a shift with the right-handed-hitting Trevor Story at the plate for the Colorado Rockies. Runners populated first base and second base. And just as the Dodgers drew it up, Kenta Maeda induced a groundball. Story hit it up the middle.
Traditionally, that’s a clean single. But the Dodgers had second baseman Max Muncy stationed there to turn a double play. Instead, Muncy couldn’t handle a high bounce off the mound and the ball bounced off his chest. Maeda, already having to work around multiple defensive miscues, crouched all the way down in frustration. All Muncy could do was throw him the ball and hope Maeda would pick him up. It led to a five-run inning
For the second consecutive day, the Dodgers were routed. Their 11-4 defeat to the Washington Nationals on Sunday matched their largest margin of defeat. Monday’s drubbing surpassed it. They still own the best record in the majors two-thirds of the way through the season
Dodgers Dodgers covet Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez, balk at trading Gavin Lux Dodgers Dodgers covet Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez, balk at trading Gavin Lux Dominant left-handed closer Felipe Vazquez is under contract through 2023, but the Pittsburgh Pirates want shortstop Gavin Lux among other Dodgers prospects in return. Advertisement The Dodgers had correctly placed Muncy in the fifth inning but he couldn’t make the play anyway. It was a window into how the club leads the National League in errors but is also first in defensive runs saved. Individuals botch routine plays at a high rate but the aggressive shifting allows them to get to so many balls that it masks those deficiencies enough, particularly in the infield, for some analytics to indicate the Dodgers are an elite defensive club
Muncy’s miscue, which was not initially ruled an error before a scoring change, broke the dam. Nolan Arenado had been three for 29 against Maeda before hitting a two-run single to center field. Two batters later, after Maeda walked Daniel Murphy, Ryan McMahon lined a two-run double down the right-field line to give Colorado a 6-0 lead
It was Maeda’s 27th and final pitch of the inning. He didn’t secure an out. His defense let him down, but he didn’t help himself by walking two batters in the fifth inning, including starting pitcher Jon Gray. Caleb Ferguson replaced Maeda and managed to strand the three runners. Maeda (7-8) was charged with six runs, five earned, and seven hits in four-plus innings
The Dodgers’ sloppiness surfaced two batters into the game. Story hit a groundball to third baseman Justin Turner. His throw to first base was accurate but Joc Pederson, an outfielder the Dodgers are trying to convert into a first baseman on the fly, lost the ball in the sun peeking through the ballpark behind Turner. The ball bounced off Pederson’s glove. It was his second consecutive game with an error at first base and his sixth error in 19 games at the position
Dodgers Dodgers acquire utility player from Mariners with Enrique Hernandez injured Dodgers Dodgers acquire utility player from Mariners with Enrique Hernandez injured With Enrique Hernandez heading to the injured list, the Dodgers acquired utility player Kristopher Negron in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. The next gaffe came from center field, where A.J. Pollock encountered trouble figuring out how to handle Ian Desmond’s line drive. He tried to backhand the ball but it bounced in front and by him to the wall. Desmond wound up with a triple
With Desmond at third base and Raimel Tapia, a speedy light-hitting outfielder at the plate, the Dodgers drew the infield in with three defenders to the right side. It cost them a run when Tapia split Muncy and Pederson’s dives with a chopper through the right side
The Dodgers didn’t score until the eighth inning as Gray (10-7) became the second hard-throwing right-hander in two days to shut down the Dodgers. After Stephen Strasburg limited the Dodgers to one run over seven innings in Washington on Sunday, Gray held the Dodgers to one run and three hits. His 112th and final pitch was a 90-mph that darted out of the strike zone. Muncy flailed at it and struck out to end the eighth inning. Gray bounced off the mound all smiles