The Dodgers dropped a game they definitely should have won on Tuesday, losing the series opener to the Reds, 9-8.
At one point, the Dodgers led 8-3, and Tuesday’s starter Tony Gonsolin left after five innings with an 8-4 lead. Unfortunately, though, the Dodgers bullpen was unable to hold that lead.
Yency Almonte allowed a run in the sixth inning on three hits and a walk, raising his ERA to 6.84 on the year.
Then, in the seventh inning, Brusdar Graterol allowed a run on four hits.
In the eighth inning, the Dodgers bullpen got their only clean inning, courtesy of a three-up, three-down by Evan Phillips.
But Phillips going in the eighth inning meant Caleb Ferguson going in the ninth, and he struggled mightily against the Reds right-handed hitters, allowing one hit, three walks, a hit batter and ultimately getting the loss with three earned runs. For what it’s worth, Shelby Miller gave up the game-winning hit, but the damage was already done.
After the game, the person who managed the bullpen, Dave Roberts, shared tons of displeasure with the way his guys pitched, starting with Gonsolin.
“To score three runs in the first inning and to go back and give away three in the bottom half, not good. And Tony threw so many pitches in that first inning — he could only go five innings, and we were fortunate to get him through five innings. And so, what that does is that exposes you in the bullpen and then when you go to the bullpen… they got to be better,” Roberts said. “Tonight, Fergie was all over the place. The walks, the hit batter. It sped up on him, and it was very apparent tonight.”Via SNLA
“This was a tough one. And with this group of arms that we have in the pen this shouldn’t happen.” Dave Roberts breaks down how the game got away tonight. pic.twitter.com/jlNZNdpaiY— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 7, 2023
He also talked about the bullpen’s struggles as a whole this season.
“They’re not throwing the ball well,” Roberts said. “There’s walks in there. Like I said, there’s hit batsman in there, there’s no punch and then you’re getting the walk. And so that’s a bad combo and so you know, when you look down there and, you know, I can trust guys, but it comes with, it’s gotta work both ways. The talent’s there, but they’ve got to do their part too and tonight was a night that we shouldn’t have lost this game.”Via SNLA
Those are very harsh words from Roberts, someone many Dodger fans blamed for this loss. And while I do question a ton of his decision-making on Tuesday, I also somewhat agree with him that his guys need to perform better.
While I highly disagreed with him putting Ferguson in the game in the ninth (more on that later), at the same time, an early June game is a good time to see if you can trust him in that spot — and that’s exactly what he said after the game.
“We’re counting on (Caleb) to be a leverage guy regardless of handiness,” Roberts said. “I felt that (the bottom) of the order, he should be able to handle that.”
Obviously he couldn’t, but it’s better for Roberts to know that now than learn it in October.
And as for Graterol and Almonte, they each had no business getting knocked around the way they did — and it’s not Roberts’ fault that Gonsolin struggled so much in the first inning.
However, Roberts can’t shed all the blame for this one, as putting Ferguson in the ninth — whether a good test or not — was pretty much asking for trouble.
Entering Tuesday’s game, righties were slashing .319/.396/.404 against Ferguson, and that’s all he was going to face.
Entering Tuesday's game, righties were slashing .319/.396/.404 against Caleb Ferguson this season.— Noah Camras (@noahcamras) June 7, 2023
I don't really understand why Dave Roberts brought him into this game.
Evan Phillips was at 11 pitches. He could have gone another inning, or at least another batter or two.
While Roberts made it clear that he didn’t want to use Phillips for a second inning after one day off, he could have just gone to Miller, who’s been dominant against righties all year long to the tune of a .089/.180/.178 slash line.
Roberts can put down the bullpen all he wants, but he also needs to put them in better positions to succeed. So if he wanted to test Ferguson in that spot — which it sounded like he did — he could have just said it and taken the blame for it not working. Because if he didn’t test Ferguson, and instead just brought in Miller, I feel very confident that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, as the Dodgers would have left Tuesday’s game with a win.
So pick your poison, Dave. Either put your players in the right position to succeed, or take some of the blame after a loss. Tuesday’s game was on you, too.
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