LOS ANGELES: Isn’t Monday the least productive day of the week at most workplaces?
The Dodgers carried a three-game winning streak into their new workweek, fresh off a 12-run offensive romp on Sunday. That memory dissolved quickly as the Colorado Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood and Gonzalez German held them to one hit in a 6-1 loss Monday night (Tuesday in Manila).
It was the second time in a eight days the Dodgers have managed just one hit in a game. They were also on the wrong end of a combined one-hitter by Chicago Cubs pitchers last Monday at Wrigley Field.
“Hitting is the toughest thing to do in baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Those teams that win have consistent production. Regardless of who’s out there, you have to find some way to string some hits together to score some runs.
“I definitely haven’t wavered in my confidence in the offense. … We’ve got to, as an offensive unit, do a better job.”
They’d better start at home. Even with the uncharacteristic outburst on Sunday, the Dodgers have averaged only 3.66 runs per game at Dodger Stadium this season, among the lowest home outputs in the majors. Going into Monday’s game, the Dodgers were batting .226 at home (tied for 26th in the majors) with a .302 on-base percentage (24th) and .685 OPS (24th).
“I have no explanation,” Roberts said. “Obviously the numbers don’t lie and right now where we are on the calendar it’s enough of a sample. I think the guys enjoy hitting here. And there are a lot of hits out there. Tonight that wasn’t the case and the first couple months that wasn’t the case. I expect it to even out going forward.”
Chatwood wasn’t the ideal guy against whom to get that started. The former Angels right-hander has emerged as the Rockies’ best pitcher – admittedly an honorific with little weight most seasons. But Chatwood is 5-0 with a 0.65 ERA in six starts away from Coors Field this year and was responsible for only the second one-hitter in franchise history Monday.
“He was outstanding,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “He’s a bulldog out there on the mound. He uses both sides of the plate well. I like the way he competes. He’s been a handful for us even back to when he was with Anaheim.”
Howie Kendrick’s single in the second inning was the only hit he allowed. Adrian Gonzalez led off that inning with a walk, went to third on Kendrick’s single and scored the Dodgers’ lone run on a force out.
Chatwood retired 18 of the next 22 Dodgers batters, walking three more and hitting Scot Van Slyke with a pitch. Two of those four baserunners were erased in double plays and no Dodger made it past first base after the second inning.
And Chatwood didn’t even have to work that hard. After throwing 41 pitches in the first two innings, he rolled through the next six innings on 59 and didn’t face more than three batters in an inning again until the eighth.
“As long as guys are swinging at strikes and taking balls I like our chances,” Roberts said of the quick innings. “But you’ve got to find a way to beat the starter.”
Opposing teams have found that way with Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger – just wait until the middle innings. Monday’s loss followed a familiar pattern for Bolsinger.
Gerardo Parra took him deep in the second inning and the Rockies added another run in the fifth to take the lead. But Bolsinger stumbled the third time through the lineup. Two walks (one to leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon after he had him down 0-and-2 in the count), an RBI single by Nolan Arenado and a three-run home run by Trevor Story settled matters.
In his major-league career, hitters have batted .250 with a home run every 34.3 at-bats, 140 strikeouts and 45 walks in their first two plate appearances in a game against Bolsinger. Familiarity does not work in his favor. They are batting .331 with a home run every 19.8 at-bats, 22 strikeouts and 22 walks when facing him a third time in a game.
“I think I got posterized as someone who goes one time through the lineup and I was taken out early in some games and that stinks to have that put on me because I really don’t think that’s who I am,” Bolsinger said. “Last year kind of put a label on me.
“I’m getting ahead of guys. I’m just trying to be too fine. It’s like a golf swing. You swing too hard and you’re probably not going to hit it very solid. You throw these off-speed pitches and you try to do too much, they’re not going to do anything. I think maybe I lose focus and try and do too much later in the games rather than do what I’m doing the innings before. I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’m going to have to overcome.”