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Dodgers’ frustrating night ends with Padres prevailing on Luis Arráez’s walk-off hit

May 11th, 2024

The night started with frustration at the home plate umpire.

It ended with the Dodgers being frustrated with themselves.

The team’s 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday might not have been decided until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Luis Arráez hit a walk-off single to thrill the Padres portion of a split 43,338-person crowd.

Really, though, it was the Dodgers’ own inability at the plate that doomed them at Petco Park.

They were upset early with the large strike zone of plate umpire Mike Estabrook (who, in fairness, granted some generous calls to Dodgers pitchers, as well). They were flummoxed later by Padres starter Michael King, who dialed up 11 punchouts in a scoreless seven-inning start.

In the end, though, the Dodgers really only had themselves to blame.

Tyler Glasnow provided another strong start, giving up only one run, a Luis Campusano third-inning home run, while striking out 10 over seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.53.

Their lineup still outproduced San Diego, recording four hits and four walks to San Diego’s three hits and two walks.

Yet, in their fourth loss out of six games against the Padres this season, the Dodgers still couldn’t find a way to prevail, snapping the team’s seven-game winning streak in the first of their three games against the rival Padres this weekend.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow works against a San Diego Padres batter.Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow works against a San Diego Padres batter.

Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers during the first inning Friday. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

The Dodgers (26-14) had one chance to flip the script, when they put runners on second and third with no outs while trailing 1-0 in the eighth inning. However, they scored just once — off a Freddie Freeman sacrifice fly — and went hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position.

That set the stage for the ninth inning, when Campusano tagged reliever Michael Grove for a leadoff double before Arráez ended it with his walk-off single.

The game highlighted some of the depth concerns at the bottom of the Dodgers’ lineup — an area of particular intrigue at the moment as outfielder Jason Heyward nears his return from a back injury.

Heyward on Friday took live at-bats for the first time since going on the injured list a month ago. He will go through two more sessions of live BP Saturday and Monday, then begin a rehabilitation assignment next week.

That means, with his return now likely in the next couple of weeks, the Dodgers will have to start evaluating who on the current roster could make way for Heyward’s eventual return.

Andy Pages originally looked like only a temporary replacement. But he has quickly turned his two-way ticket into a one-way destination, seemingly unlikely to be sent down given his .300 batting average and .850 OPS.

Gavin Lux (.183 average) and Kiké Hernández (.211) struggled out of the gate, but have shown signs of life recently.

That leaves outfielder James Outman and utility man Chris Taylor as the two likeliest candidates, at present, to be trimmed from the roster.

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out during the first inning Friday.Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out during the first inning Friday.

Outman went hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats Friday, dropping his season batting average to .158 and keeping his strikeout rate above 30%.

Taylor, stunningly, has been even worse. He is just four for 56 with 28 strikeouts (his 41.2% K rate is the only one on the team worse than Outman), as he tries to work through a failed offseason swing change.

Despite having the second-fewest at-bats on the team, ahead of only catcher Austin Barnes, Taylor has already accumulated almost one whole win below replacement, according to Baseball Reference — one of several shocking stats that illustrate his woeful opening month.

The big difference between Taylor and Outman is their contract statuses.

Outman is a second-year player who can be optioned to the minors. Taylor has two years, including this one, and some $30 million left on the contract he signed as a free agent after his lone All-Star season in 2021.

Read more: ‘He’s on a mission’: How Max Muncy quelled concerns about his defense at third base

In other words, while Outman has been marginally better than Taylor this year, he is also the easier player to move off the MLB roster — particularly for a Dodgers team with little proven position player depth in the minors.

As Dave Roberts has noted repeatedly in recent days, the club isn’t making any final decisions yet. They still have some time until Heyward returns. There are still plenty of games for roster circumstances to change.

“Like with anything, you just don’t know how it’s gonna play out,” Roberts said.

Yet, the manager added, ominously, “I think you have to look at a couple different options.”

The need to do so became clear again Friday, on one of the rare nights of late the Dodgers failed to get their bats going.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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