The Los Angeles Dodgers’ season-long road trip figured to be a challenge with games against the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals, National League-leading Atlanta Braves and MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays.
Dodgers starting pitching continued to struggle, which resulted in losing three of four at Busch Stadium. L.A. responded with back-to-back wins against the Braves and nearly completing a series sweep. Manager Dave Roberts was encouraged by the Dodgers’ play at Truist Park heading into the 2020 World Series rematch.
Friday’s game wound up being largely one-sided as Noah Syndergaard allowed a bevy of hard contact and three stolen bases en route to a 9-3 loss.
Roberts credited the Rays for winning the series opener and acknowledged the Dodgers have a challenge ahead of them in the two remaining games at Tropicana Field, via SportsNet LA:
“Obviously they outplayed us tonight. I thought we had (Cooper) Criswell, to make it a game at some point, maybe in the third or fourth inning, and we just couldn’t capitalize. They caught a lead and at that point in time they just started matching up, and we couldn’t get any momentum. You can tell they’re confident; one through nine, they’re swinging the bats well; athletic defensively, they catch the baseball. So we’ve got our work cut out.
“We’ve got Clayton going tomorrow, which is good, and we’ve got a very fresh ‘pen. So I do think on the preventing runs side, we’re in a good spot. (Tyler) Glasnow, first start back, so it’s going to be interesting to see how long he goes and the stuff that he presents. But if he’s right, it’s going to be a tough one.”
With Jalen Beeks serving as an opener for the Rays, the Dodgers had their first three batters reach safely and took a 1-0 lead. However, Tampa Bay responded with two runs in the bottom of the first inning and extended it to 4-1 through the second.
The Rays wound up scoring in each of the first four innings. Syndergaard didn’t retire the side in order until the fifth.
Dodgers missed opportunities
As Roberts alluded to, the Dodgers had a chance to cut into their deficit with Cooper Criswell on the mound. They scored a run in the third inning on J.D. Martinez’s RBI single, but a double play stopped their rally. Another double play wiped out James Outman’s leadoff walk in the fourth.
Although the Dodgers had nine hits, the bulk of those came from Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Martinez, who had two each.
The Dodgers went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. Max Muncy was a primary culprit as he went hitless and stranded two baserunners in four of five at-bats.
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