LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling knows he will have to weather the early going Sunday if he wants to get back to his winning ways.
Stripling will face a Colorado Rockies team that is known for fast starts. The Rockies lead all of baseball with 70 runs scored in the opening inning. They also lead the majors with 24 first-inning home runs.
The Rockies are focused on trying to counter the Dodgers’ offensive muscle. Manager Bud Black is preaching to his pitchers to be aggressive.
“We knew coming in (the Dodgers) had power [url=http://www.billsfootballauthentics.com/taron-johnson-jersey-authentic]Youth Taron Johnson Jersey[/url] ,” Black said. “We know that you have to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. We have been attacking them and going after them to get into more favorable counts. That’s the message we send to all teams and we have to do it again (Sunday).”
Keeping opponents in check early is one of the many things Stripling has excelled at during his breakout season. The Texas native has allowed one first-inning run in his 11 previous starts, and two extra-base hits.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis also must prepare for a potential volatile first inning. Not only do the Rockies score a ton early, they also have given up 70 runs in the first inning to lead the majors. Their 21 first-inning home runs allowed are second-most in baseball.
The good news for Colorado is that they are on the road where runs and long balls are harder to come by than at Coors Field. And Bettis is the perfect example.
Bettis 5-1 overall with a 5.07 ERA, with all his decisions coming on the road, where he has a 2.72 ERA. At the start of play Saturday, Bettis’ five road victories were tied for third in the NL. He posted his sixth quality start on the road Tuesday at San Francisco, but did not get a decision.
There is added pressure on Bettis after the Rockies demoted Opening Day starter Jon Gray to Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. In 17 starts this season, Gray was a disappointing 7-7 with a 5.77 ERA.
“This was the right time to get Jon to Triple-A to work on some things, not so much mechanically, but mentally, and to realize the inconsistencies that have been happening this season,” manager Bud Black told The Denver Post after the Rockies optioned Gray.
Stripling has been a bit more consistent.
In his past three outings, he is 1-1 with a no-decision. He beat the Giants, then lost to the Cubs despite giving up only three runs on June 20. Six days later, he went five innings and gave up one run in the no-decision.
“He’s been fantastic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his starter. “For him to not be as sharp as usual and to keep (the Cubs) to one run in five innings is a credit to him. He gives us a chance every single time he takes the mound. He’s done more than exceed our expectations.”
After rolling through most of June behind an offense that hit a franchise-record 55 home runs for a single month [url=http://www.billsfootballauthentics.com/jeremy-kerley-jersey-authentic]Youth Jeremy Kerley Jersey[/url] , the Dodgers have looked less invincible in recent days. They split a four-game home series against the Cubs and now have lost two consecutive games to the Rockies.
The Rockies will not look back at their overall June play so fondly, but they ended the month on a three-game win streak.
Colorado went 11-16 in the month. Nolan Arenado was a bright spot as he is the reigning NL Player of the Week. Arenado had home runs in seven of 10 games before play Saturday, a run that included a homer in four consecutive contests.Watching from the visitor’s dugout, Justin Turner saw his teammates spray Citi Field with a bunch of home runs and figured the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t need any from him.
His power proved to be the difference.
Turner hit the Dodgers’ seventh home run of the game, a go-ahead drive in the 11th inning that led Los Angeles over the New York Mets 8-7 Sunday.
”I was hoping we didn’t need one,” said Turner, who went 1 for 9 in the first two games of the series before getting the day off. ”But it kind of worked out.”
Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez each homered twice as the Dodgers beat the Mets for the 12th straight time dating to 2016. Max Muncy and Joc Pederson also connected for Los Angeles. Hernandez and Muncy led off the game with back-to-back shots.
The Dodgers’ team record for home runs in a game is eight, set in 2002 against Milwaukee.
The defending NL champs have gone 25-9 since falling behind 10 games under .500 on May 16, and have won three straight after losing the last two games of a three-game series last week at Wrigley Field against Chicago.
The Dodgers are now 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona.
”We had a lot of injuries, a lot of bad luck and nothing was going our way,” Hernandez said. ”Slowly things started to turn around. It was just a matter of time because if you look at our team, even now that we’re doing really good, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the record we have now.”
The Mets matched a team record for the most homers allowed in a game, and lost their sixth in a row overall.
Turner, a former Met, homered off Chris Flexen (0-1) with two outs to put the Dodgers up for good. Los Angeles had squandered a 7-4 lead in the eighth when Kevin Plawecki hit a tying [url=http://www.billsfootballauthentics.com/trent-murphy-jersey-authentic]Youth Trent Murphy Jersey[/url] , three-run shot.
Daniel Hudson (2-2) picked up the victory with two scoreless innings. He worked around a leadoff walk in the 10th and stranded a runner at second in the 11th.
The Mets lost for the 13th time in 14 games at Citi Field. They previously allowed seven home runs on April 30, 2017, at Washington.
”We just can’t sync up exactly what we’re trying to do every day,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ”If we swing the bats, we give up seven homers. If we pitch and swing the bats good, our defense isn’t quite there.”
The depleted Mets were forced to start longtime reliever Jerry Blevins in place of Jason Vargas, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday due to a strained right calf.
”I showed up to the ballpark today and they were like, `Hey, how do you feel about starting?”’ Blevins said.
Making his first major league start in 533 appearances, Blevins gave up back-to-back homers by Hernandez and Muncy to begin the game. It was just the second time since 1900 that a pitcher had allowed two straight home runs to begin his first start in the majors, the Elias Sports Bureau said – Don Hendrickson did it in 1945 with the Boston Braves.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture) threw in the bullpen before the game. The 23-year-old rookie, who is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in nine starts this season, has been on the disabled list since June 12.
Mets: Flexen was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas, taking Vargas’ spot in the 25-man roster. … OF Brandon Nimmo was removed from the game due to a sore right pinkie. He injured it when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning and was replaced by Conforto in the top of the seventh. X-rays were negative but he will undergo an MRI on Monday. ”I’m optimistic because it’s not what I think that a broken bone would feel like,” Nimmo said.
SITTING IT OUT
Mets SS Amed Rosario was held out of the starting lineup as part of a mental break over the next couple of days. His mentor, Jose Reyes [url=http://www.the49ersfootballauthentic.com/kentavius-street-jersey-authentic]Youth Kentavius Street Jersey[/url] , started in his place, Rosario entered to play short in the top of the 11th. The struggling 22-year-old, who’s hitting just .249 with four home runs and 21 RBIs over 71 games, has had a tough time adjusting to major league pitching after hitting .328 with seven homers and 58 RBI at Triple-A Las Vegas before making his big league debut last season on Aug. 1, 2017.
”I’m just having a couple of days for me to relax and enjoy the game,” said Rosario, who has hit only .212 (14 for 66) through 19 games in June.
Callaway and his staff sat down with the youngster to come up with a plan heading into their three-game series with Pittsburgh on Monday.
”We brought him in and talked to him, sat him down and we’re going to make sure that we take these next couple of days to work on some things in his overall game,” Callaway said. ”This young kid is still trying to develop at the major league level and these couple of days will allow him to get some work done in the cage, some work done in the field tomorrow taking groundballs and things like that. So we thought this would be really good for him.”
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.11 ERA) starts the opener of a 10-game homestand with the first of four against the Chicago Cubs.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.85) starts the first game of a three-game set against Pittsburgh. It will be Lugo’s fifth start of the season.