The day, opponent and principle parties involved may change, but the story has largely remained the same for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past two weeks. Whether due to a poor offensive showing or a faltering pitching staff, the losses have piled up at a historic rate.
Monday’s — or Tuesday’s — defeat at the San Francisco Giants was particularly maddening. There were two rain delays that amounted to a combined three hours and 44 minutes of waiting time. A deficit was erased by a four-run rally in the fourth inning.
Yet, even with the Dodgers hitting their way back into the game and taking the lead in the fifth, their bullpen failed to uphold their end of the bargain. Included in that was embattled reliever Pedro Baez.
He entered in sixth inning with the game knotted in a 6-6. The bottom of the Giants lineup was due up, which was an added reason Dodgers manager Dave Roberts trusted his right-hander to get through the inning, per Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“I felt Pedro could get those guys out,” Roberts said. “I really did.”
Baez’s trouble began on Pablo Sandoval’s one-out flare single into left field. It was just Sandoval’s second hit in his last 50 at-bats. Nick Hundley hit a one-hopper that got by a diving Corey Seager and carried into center field to put two on with one out.
Pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson struck out on a high fastball, but Baez would not get out of the inning unscathed, as Hunter Pence lined an RBI single into center field. Baez was saddled with a third loss in his last five relief appearances.
Over the five games he’s 0-3 and allowed eight runs (six earned) in 2.2 innings, which amounts to a 20.25 ERA. Roberts has come to the defense of Baez on multiple occasions this season, including after he was booed at Dodger Stadium prior to delivering a pitch in a game against the Colorado Rockies.
Roberts expanded on his initial remarks to say Baez would ‘pitch big innings’ for the team this season. His first test, or opportunity to do so, backfired on Roberts.