Home Sports Dodgers waste big game by Shohei Ohtani in loss to Diamondbacks

Dodgers waste big game by Shohei Ohtani in loss to Diamondbacks

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA May 21, 2024-Dodgers Shohei Ohtani steals third base and would eventually score on a Diamondbacks error in the fourth inning at Dodgers Stadium on Tuesday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday night was Shohei Ohtani Show at Dodger Stadium.

Too bad a lot of the supporting cast didn’t show up.

Despite two hits and some timely baserunning from Ohtani, who continues to lead the majors in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS, the Dodgers never gained traction in a 7-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Instead, they endured a lackluster performance from the starting pitcher. Gavin Stonewho allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.

They received little production from the rest of their lineup, which managed just five hits while struggling with Arizona right-hander Brandon Pfaadt.

And in their only chance to erase an all-night deficit (the Diamondbacks opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning), the Dodgers came up short, leaving a potential tying run stuck in scoring position to end a comeback in the seventh inning.

All of that meant Ohtani’s efforts to wreak havoc were in vain, with the slugger’s fourth-inning double, an RBI single in the sixth inning and two stolen bases (one of which led to an error that allowed him to score). , it all came to nothing in what was the Dodgers’ fifth loss in 19 games this month.

After the Dodgers were held hitless through the first three innings, Ohtani provided the team’s first sign of life in the fourth inning.

First, he sliced ​​an opposite-field double down the left-field line (Ohtani’s 17 doubles this season are second in the majors). Ohtani then came out to steal third, making a jump so hard that he not only reached the pocket safely but also caused a missed throw from Gold Glove catcher Gabriel Moreno. As the ball flew into left field, Ohtani stood up and jogged home safely.

The Dodgers trailed 4-1 in the sixth inning when Ohtani struck again.

After a leadoff double by Miguel Vargas, his first hit since being called back to the majors last week, Ohtani hit an RBI single through the right side of the infield. Then, after stealing second for his 13th steal of the season (tied for seventh in the majors), Ohtani scored on Will Smith’s double two batters later.

Down 4-3, the Dodgers had a chance to maintain the comeback. But Teoscar Hernández hit a fly ball to retire the team, one of many wasted opportunities on a night when the Dodgers were just two for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Read more: Hernandez: Freddie Freeman can still be great. He just has to do more to take advantage of it.

That would be the closest the Dodgers (33-18) would get. Reliever Michael Grove was called up in the seventh inning to replace Stone, who allowed his most runs since his second start of the season on April 7, but quickly allowed the Diamondbacks (23-26) to pull away again, allowing a triple. home run by former Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson, making the score 7-3.

Gavin Lux led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple, but was stranded. After that, the Dodgers didn’t threaten again, setting up a series of games with their National League West rivals on Wednesday.

While Ohtani’s contributions were the biggest of the night, Vargas and Lux’s extra-base hits marked positive signs in their efforts to rediscover success at the MLB level.

Lux entered the night batting .194 (14th worst among MLB hitters with at least 130 plate appearances) and looking somewhat lost at the plate. But in the seventh inning, he ambushed a Ryan Thompson sinker on the first pitch, then turned on the jets as the ball clattered into the right field corner, reaching third with his second triple and sixth extra-base hit of the season.

Lux also added a single in the ninth inning, marking just his sixth multi-hit game in 33 starts this season.

Vargas’ double was equally encouraging.

Vargas, the Dodgers’ opening day second baseman last year, had been in the minors since last year’s All-Star break (he was hitting just .195 at the time of his demotion) before being called up for third baseman injured Max Muncy last Friday.

He went hitless in a start against Cincinnati on Saturday, but bounced back in the sixth inning Tuesday by lining a fastball on Pfaadt’s first pitch to left field for a double.

Read more: “It has become a weapon.” How Michael Grove became a high-leverage Dodgers reliever

The swing was just as manager Dave Roberts had promised before the game, when the captain said the 24-year-old prospect had looked “a little freer, a little more aggressive” in a strong start to the season with Oklahoma City triple TO. .

“For him, it’s just trying to trust that last year is behind him,” Roberts said. “THIS IS A NEW YEAR. He’s grown and matured. And just let his talent take over.”

However, in Tuesday’s loss, few Dodgers did the same.

Mookie Betts went 0 for 3 with a walk. Freddie Freeman was hitless in four at-bats. And outside of the hits from Lux and Vargas, the bottom half of the lineup offered no other production, leaving Ohtani to shoulder much of the load on a quiet night in Chavez Ravine.

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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