MLB is heading into the final stretch for the traditional and recognized end of the first half of the season. The Dodgers have 5 games, remaining and will have an open date on Sunday. They have a game for each of the five current members of the rotation. Mitch White drew the first game assignment. LHP Matthew Liberatore was scheduled to start, but initially gave way to fireballer RHP Jordan Hicks, and his 103 MPH fastball, as an opener. Hicks had problems with the fastball command, however because of a Trea Turner DP, he got out of the first inning in spite of 2 walks and a Freddie Freeman single. Liberatore would still come into the game in the 4th, and he was one of 7 pitchers on the night. That might work in the Dodgers favor for Wednesday and Thursday.
Cody Bellinger drew a 2-out walk and Jordan Hicks was done after 38 pitches.
But this was not Mitch White’s night. He gave up a 2-out HR to Tio Albert, but then seemed to fall apart. With the 7-8-9 hitters coming up, White figured to be able to navigate out of the 2nd inning without further damage, especially with the 8 & 9 hitters hitting .196 and .181. Result – single, double, single and the score is 3-0. Two of the three outs were not cheapies, so Mitch was not fooling anyone. The Cardinals went on to score 3 additional runs. Overall Mitch gutted out 5.0 IP on 90 pitches, giving up 6 runs on 10 hits. Alex Dickerson’s and Andrew Knizer’s next contracts are going to require that they get to face Dodger pitching as of often as possible. Knizer coming in to the game 2 for 26 and goes 3-4 with three RBIs.
Agreed, White had a poor night, but make no mistake this game was lost in the 7th. After loading the bases with nobody out, and down by only one, Doc sent up Max Muncy to get at least one run. No after watching Freddie Freeman take a ¾ swing for a base hit, Muncy is looking for a HR and weakly flies out to CF. Hanser Alberto did the same. Bases still loaded, 2 outs now, and Cody Bellinger coming up. Belli would go on to strike out, and for all practical purposes, this game was done.
We got a glimpse of Ryan Helsley and his 102-103 MPH fastball. But then Doc trots David Price. Yet another sub Mendoza hitter, Lars Nootbaar comes off the bench and kills a double down the RF line. He eventually comes around to score on another Andrew Knizer RBI hit. The Dodgers do not have a better 8th inning reliever in a 1 run game than David Price? You want a lefty? There were 2 in Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson. Both are better high leverage pitchers than Price, at least to this amateur manager.
That run off Price would prove to be the winning run, as Freddie had hit a booming HR in the 9th. Then yet another strange occurrence as Giovanny Gallegos throws 7 straight balls to Max Muncy and Jake Lamb, and Lamb inexplicably swings on a 3-0 pitch to hit a routine flyball to CF and the Dodgers’ 7 game win streak is over.
It was an ugly game to be sure, but the good guys did not quit. They almost came back from another 5 run lead. However they fell a run short, and largely because Max Muncy and Hanser Alberto hit short fly balls with the bases loaded, and Belli struck out. All against Packy Naughton, a pitcher with a 3.80+ ERA. I give Hanser a little leeway as he plays once a week.
Before the masses come out and tell us the Dodgers need to go get Luis Castillo, let me remind everyone that Mitch White is a #5/#6 pitcher who was pitching very well in three of his last four starts.
Andrew Heaney had a 30 pitch simulated game Tuesday at Busch Stadium. He is scheduled to go out on a rehab assignment at Rancho on July 16 and is scheduled for 3-4 innings. Doc thought that he might need two rehab starts before being activated, but because of the MLB All Star Game, MiLB will be dark Monday through Thursday, so no games for rehab.
Doc says in order to keep Heaney healthy the rest of the year, it is unrealistic to see Heaney go past 75 pitches in any of his starts. Will the #5 be a Heaney/White piggyback?
As an editorial, I am getting a bit tired of announcers making excuses for Max Muncy. He hit the ball hard last weekend. He still walks a lot. He is still hurt. But here are his numbers each month:
- April – .136/.313/.273/.586
- May – .164/.341/.254/.595
- June – .197/.312/.364/.676
- July – .129/.356/.387/.643
- Season – .161/.313/.309/.622
I do not care what the back of his baseball card says. This year it says you do not want him up in a critical situation…say like with the bases loaded with nobody out. He is 4-31 in July with 6 walks and 14 strikeouts. His 4 hits are 2 HRs and 2 doubles. So when he actually makes contact with that three outcome swing he hits it hard. He just does not do it very often. Maybe it starts on Wednesday against Adam Wainwright with Tony Gonsolin going for win #12.