Dodgers’ continued fall drops them to third in NL West

Dodgers wide receiver Will Smith (16) reaches to throw Giants center fielder Luis Matos scores Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith attempts a pitch as Giants’ Luis Matos scores in the sixth inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers lost 7-3 and suffered a three-game sweep. (Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

The Dodgers are officially a third-place team.

And unless they emerge from what has now become a month-long funk, their downfall in the rankings may have only just begun.

With a 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers not only fell behind their interstate foes in the National League West, but also suffered their first home sweep in the rivalry since August 2012. – last season. the Dodgers did not make the playoffs.

For now, this year’s team is still safe in the hunt for wild cards, holding a one-game advantage over the Philadelphia Phillies for the final NL playoff spot. But with 18 losses in their last 30 games, the Dodgers (39-33) are four games into the division, just 3½ games ahead of the fourth-placed San Diego Padres and headed squarely in the wrong direction. before the series against the Angels and Houston Astros this week.

“It’s not the ideal situation right now,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “Every day we arrive with the right attitude, the right state of mind. And at the end of the day, it’s another loss.

Starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin was the biggest culprit on Sunday.

After starting the game with three perfect innings, the right-hander faltered in the fourth (giving up two runs on a walk, hit batter, sacrifice fly and RBI single), fifth (a run on an RBI pitch after giving up two hits ) and sixth (loaded with four runs in an inning in which he only managed two outs).

“My execution really suffered after that third set,” Gonsolin (4-2) said. really wasn’t there.”

Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin pitches in the first inning against the Giants on Sunday. Gonsolin allowed a career-high seven runs in 5 2/3 innings. (Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

The seven points Gonsolin gave up marked a career high. His three walks were a continuation of his season and career issues of being “too good” with his command at critical times. And while his 2.92 ERA is still the best in the Dodgers rotation, his ineffective performance was disappointing compared to his All-Star breakout last season.

“Today was probably the first day that I saw that while he was increasing the pitch count a little bit, things weren’t as clear cut,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Roberts cited several other issues that hampered the Dodgers on Sunday.

In the fourth inning, left fielder David Peralta made the wrong call on a return to the infield, allowing a runner on first base to advance to second on a tag, setting up an RBI single on the next at-bat.

In the fifth, Peralta and Freeman misplayed balls hit at them, leading to another Giants run moments after the Dodgers halved San Francisco’s lead.

Then, when given one last lifeline in a bases-loaded situation in the ninth, the Dodgers came out empty but one hit per pitch, ending day two for 13 with runners in scoring position and beaching 11 on base .

“When you don’t win games, things escalate,” Roberts said. “I think if you think back to that two-week period, there’s a lot of things that we’re not doing well. We’re not playing clean baseball, fundamental baseball. It’s not just trying to win, but to focus on the little things.

Freeman played down the suggestion the Dodgers might insist on. He said the team haven’t reached the point of panic either, even though the club haven’t held third place this late in a season since 2018.

“It’s one of those tough points in the season where you have to grind and keep coming every day,” he said. “Show up and expect to win. That’s the thing. Our team is far too good to continue like this and get through this period. … We know we are better than that.

That’s what the Dodgers continue to believe, anyway.

But the longer their losing skid gets and the further they drop in the rankings, the harder it will be for them to explain their struggles. To keep calm in the midst of an increasingly spiraling season. To maintain confidence in a reversal, they always seem to believe it’s inevitable.

“I can’t give you a specific answer as to why this is happening,” Freeman said. “It’s just that we have to stop and play better. That is just about everything. I know you want to say something specific. There are not any. It’s just that we got beaten at home, swept three games and on Tuesday we have to start playing better.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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