The Los Angeles Dodgers followed a four-home run game by mustering six hits — all singles — in a shutout loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. The afternoon was particularly frustrating for Alex Verdugo, who went 0-for-4 with one strikeout and three men left on base.
It was only the fourth game this season the Dodgers have been shut out, and it was an eighth time Verdugo went hitless in a start. But it was a sequence in center field that had Verdugo in the spotlight of a 4-0 loss at Great American Ball Park.
With the Reds already having scored one run in the third inning, Yasiel Puig blooped a two-run single that Verdugo pulled up and played on a hop. His throw to home plate in effort to cut down Joey Votto was late.
Upon watching a replay of the hit, Verdugo admitted he likely should have made an attempt at a diving catch even if the likelihood of completing such a play weren’t in his favor, via SportsNet LA:
“It looked like it was off the end of the bat, weakly hit. Off the bat, I took a couple hard steps in, running in hard. I felt like I had a better play with really just getting it on the bounce and trying to throw the second runner out. Now seeing what you see, obviously both runners scored, I think I probably would have just went for the dive. But, yeah, just one of those things. It was a fastball down, end of the bat, big swing but off the end of the bat. I felt like I had the right read, the right jump. At the time, it was just telling me to play it on a bounce and try to throw him out. … I went and watched it. I mean, even if I did dive, I think it was bang-bang. It would have been one of those ones with a very low catch percentage on the play.”
Verdugo found himself in the middle of a difficult situation in part because of Corey Seager’s throwing error to second base. It went wide of the bag, allowing Tucker Barnhart to score and leaving Nick Senzel and Vott in scoring position.
Verdugo in some sense atoned for the play two innings later by making a terrific running catch in deep center field to rob Jesse Winker of an extra-base hit. It was another reminder of how dynamic the rookie outfielder is.
Earlier this season he threw a 98.4 mph strike to home plate to nail Milwaukee Brewers infielder Hernan Perez on his attempt to score on a single to left field.