Denver: The Dodgers wielded enough power to overcome their bullpen deficiencies at Coors Field. A day later, the strength of the offence could not compensate for the weakness of the pitching staff in a 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Zac Rosscup, a seldom-used left-handed reliever, served up a two-run homer to Colorado infielder Ryan McMahon to allow the Rockies to grab the lead in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers do not view Rosscup as an ideal candidate for high-leverage outings. But after failing to add notable help for the bullpen at the trade deadline, and after losing closer Kenley Jansen to a recurrence of his irregular heartbeat, manager Dave Roberts must use the players on his roster.
“It’s calling for us to put guys in positions they haven’t been in,” Roberts said. “And asking more of them, and putting them in higher-leverage spots, and extending them.”
In what could be his final outing in the starting rotation, Kenta Maeda held the Rockies to three runs in 51/3 innings. He gave up a two-run home run to the second batter he faced, but settled down from there.
Maeda is expected to return to the bullpen to stabilise the group as Jansen recovers.
The two offences picked up where they left off Thursday night. The Dodgers collected a first-inning run on a double by Justin Turner and an RBI single from Yasmani Grandal. Colorado pulled ahead in the bottom of the inning when second baseman DJ LeMahieu cranked a 93-mph fastball into the Rockies bullpen.
The Rockies padded their lead in the third. Maeda created trouble with a leadoff walk to outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Two batters later, shortstop Trevor Story lined an RBI double into the left-field corner.
Maeda acknowledged after the game he felt handicapped by the strike zone of umpire James Hoye.
“I just felt like I had to throw the ball down the middle,” Maeda said through his interpreter, Will Ireton.
The Dodgers evened the score in the fourth. Cold for several weeks, Max Muncy had homered Thursday. He added his second in as many days with a two-run shot off Rockies starter Jon Gray, his 26th homer of the season. Muncy punished Gray for a hanging, 2-0 slider.
Gray budged again in the fifth. He plunked Turner for the second time. Brian Dozier took a two-out walk. Cody Bellinger beat the shift with a single up the middle to bring in the go-ahead run and give Bellinger his fifth hit in five plate appearances stretching back to Thursday.
Roberts pulled Maeda with a runner at second base and one out in the sixth. With a pair of left-handed hitters due up for Colorado, Rosscup entered for his first appearance since Aug. 4. He kept the lead safe, striking out outfielder Gerardo Parra with a slider and fanning All-Star Charlie Blackmon with the same pitch.
Rosscup was less successful in the seventh. Roberts stuck with him in hopes of navigating through two more left-handed hitters. After a leadoff single by LeMahieu, Rosscup fired a belt-high fastball to McMahon. McMahon did not miss. His two-run homer put Colorado back in front.
“In that situation, he fell behind 1-0, and threw a fastball up,” Roberts said. “And McMahon took a good swing on it.”