The Los Angeles Dodgers went into the Freeway Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim red hot, having not lost a series since early May and winning 25 of 32 games over that span.
Baseball is a sport that can humble any team quickly though, and that is exactly what happened to the Dodgers at Angel Stadium as they were swept in the two-game series after falling to their crosstown rivals, 5-3, on Tuesday night.
Kenta Maeda allowed five runs, all with two outs in the first inning to put the Dodgers in an early hole. While he and the rest of the pitching staff were nails after that, the offense was never quite able to break through.
The Dodgers didn’t have any problems getting runners on base, having at least one reach in each of the nine innings while slugging 12 hits and also walking five times in the process. Getting them in was an issue though as the Dodgers went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position to strand a total of 15 runners.
After the loss, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was not happy with how his team hit situationally, saying they will need to improve moving forward if they want to win games, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Even with that start, we should’ve won that game. We had a chance to win that game in the ninth inning and that’s after situationally we were really bad tonight. Really bad. There were situations to put a ball in play, we get a run, and we couldn’t do it. We’ve got to be better.”
Part of what has made the Dodgers so dominant this season compared to 2018 has been their improvements with runners in scoring position, particularly with two outs. They are currently hitting .246 in those situations, which ranks 11th in baseball and is a significant improvement from their .199 mark a year ago, which was next to last.
While losing a pair of games to the Angels means little in the standings with Los Angeles still carrying a comfortable nine-game lead in the National League West, Tuesday’s game was significant for the Dodgers as they saw their hottest hitter, Corey Seager, go down.
Seager suffered a hamstring injury running the bases in the ninth inning and is expected to miss a significant period of time with a ‘Grade 2-plus’ strain. The injury is obviously a tough break for the Dodgers and the shortstop that had just begun to find his form on both sides of the ball in recent weeks.
He will now be forced to hit the injured list once again after missing almost the entire 2018 season due to elbow and hip injuries.
With one of their hottest hitters out, other players who struggled a bit in the Angels series situationally like Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez will have to pick up the slack if the Dodgers want to maintain their division lead.