The Phillies opened a 3-game set with the Dodgers in L.A. on Monday night in search of their 5th straight series win. For some reason, everyone seems eager to just get to tomorrow night’s game, but let’s recap this one anyway.
Tony Gonsolin toed the slab for the home team, making his second start of the year after working his way back from injury. After an uneventful top of the first inning, Taijuan Walker took the mound for the Phillies. His forearm appeared fine, striking out former MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman to begin his outing. He left a sweeper over the plate against Will Smith, though, who sent the sweeper into the left field bleachers to energize the always-packed house early on.
Walker struck out three batters in the first, but it was evident that his command struggles would continue into tonight’s game. He walked the first two batters of the second with some help from home plate umpire David Rackley, setting up David Peralta to blast his second homer of the year to bust the game open with nobody out in the second.
The Phillies offense was unimpressive once through the order and Walker showed no sign of stopping the bleeding, serving up his third home run in as many innings, this one to the seemingly revitalized Jason Heyward. Taijuan wasn’t lacking stuff, as he picked up 6 strikeouts through 3 innings on some downright nasty pitches. Unfortunately, the pitches that weren’t devastating hitters were either catching all of the plate or not even in its vicinity.
A leadoff Schwarbomb—well, more like a Schwarpoke—cut the Dodgers’ lead to 5-1 in the fourth.
Kyle Schwarber juuuust gets this one out pic.twitter.com/aVjVriKZSJ— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 2, 2023
After retiring the leadoff hitter, any hopes of a clean fourth by Walker were vanquished after four straight singles. Lazy throwing decisions by Marsh and Castellanos allowed baserunners to move up an extra 90 feet on two of those hits, helping stretch the lead to 8-1. Walker exited after a wholly ineffective outing: 3.1 innings, 8 runs, 8 hits, and 3 walks. Perhaps he would have benefitted from skipping a start, even if it had just been precautionary; perhaps he truly is simply healthy but struggling. Regardless, Ranger Suárez’s return can’t come soon enough.
To their credit, the Phillies again declined to roll over. Bryson Stott walked, Trea Turner singled, and Schwarber walked—all with two outs in the fifth—to chase Gonsolin, who may not be fully stretched out yet, after 80 pitches. Phil Bickford entered and promptly conceded a two-run knock to Castellanos before striking out Marsh to keep the score 8-3.
Andrew Vasquez kept the Dodgers at bay after replacing Walker, with the exception of a Betts RBI double in the fifth. Bohm made it 9-4 when he singled home Realmuto after a leadoff triple. Yunior Marte again looked more than competent in a scoreless sixth, the first and only such inning pitched by a Phillie in the game.
Betts took Craig Kimbrel deep in the seventh, cashing in after another missed strikeout by Rackley turned into a walk. The Dodgers’ fourth homer of the night made it 11-4, putting the game out of reach for good.
Luis Ortiz’s magic wasn’t present tonight, as he couldn’t get out of the eighth. He retired one hitter and surrendered two more runs before giving way to the most dominant Clemens ever to set foot on a major league mound. The Phillies went scoreless in the ninth, falling by a score of 13-4.
Game 2: same time, same place. Matt Strahm (2.31 ERA) goes for the Phillies opposite fellow southpaw Julio Urías (4.41 ERA). We’ll see if the lineup looks any different.