Well-rested Tony Gonsolin can't jolt Dodgers from their Milwaukee 'hangover'
The Dodgers were wise to fly Tony Gonsolin to Milwaukee on Sunday, ahead of the team, because the right-hander looked well rested and sharp against the Brewers at American Family Field on Monday night.
The same could not be said for the rest of the Dodgers, who were delayed leaving Petco Park on Sunday night because of a minor team bus accident, flew four hours from San Diego to Milwaukee and arrived at their hotel at about 3:45 a.m. local time after winning two of three games in an intense series against the division-rival Padres.
Manager Dave Roberts dismissed talk of a “hangover effect,” but the Dodgers looked soggy in a 9-3 loss in which the offense mustered six hits and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, the defense committed a key error leading to three unearned runs, and two lower-leverage relievers were torched for six runs.
“The hangover was Peralta tonight,” Roberts said of Brewers right-hander Freddy Peralta, who held the Dodgers to one run and three hits in six innings. “I thought we had some momentum coming into this series … I don’t think the energy was lagging, but when you have a guy carving you up, it takes the wind out of your sails.”
Gonsolin, making his third start after missing most of April because of a left-ankle sprain, looked dominant for most of his six-inning, 80-pitch stint, giving up three hits, striking out six and walking none, his only mistake a hanging split-fingered fastball that Joey Wiemer hit for a three-run homer in the fifth.
“I’m telling you, Tony threw the crap out of the baseball — it was just one mistake,” Roberts said. “I thought all of his stuff was really good — velocity, the secondary pitches, how he sequenced.”
Gonsolin retired 12 of the first 13 Brewers he faced, five by strikeout, and had yielded only one hit when William Contreras opened the fifth with a slow roller to the left of third baseman Michael Busch. Busch recovered from an initial bobble in time to retire the slow-footed catcher, but his throw sailed wide of first base for an error.
“Yeah,” Busch said, when asked if he had more time on the play than he realized. “I tried to throw it quick, but I gotta get it in my glove first.”
Gonsolin struck out Brian Anderson and got Brice Turang to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out, but Tyrone Taylor singled to center, and Gonsolin left an 84-mph splitter middle-in to Wiemer, who sent a 109-mph screamer into the left-field seats for his third homer of the season and a 3-0 lead.
“We just gotta make plays,” Roberts said. “If you’re giving teams extra outs, at some point in time, it’s going to cost you.”
The Dodgers got one run back in the sixth when Freddie Freeman doubled, took third on Jason Heyward’s groundout and scored on Max Muncy’s grounder to first to make it 3-1.
But the Brewers tacked on against relievers Phil Bickford and Wander Suero in a six-run seventh, Wiemer hitting an RBI double, Christian Yelich a two-run single and Willy Adames a three-run homer for a 9-1 lead.
Chris Taylor drove a pinch-hit, two-run homer to center field in the ninth, and of the Dodgers utility man’s 18 hits this season, seven are homers. But the game was well out of reach by then.
“It was not easy, to be honest, but it’s part of the game,” Dodgers left fielder David Peralta said of the grueling travel schedule. “We did our best today. We were grinding every at-bat, every inning. It just didn’t go our way. So we’re gonna get some rest tonight, refresh for tomorrow and start over again.”
The Dodgers were a man down in the bullpen after left-hander Caleb Ferguson returned to Los Angeles to be with his wife, Carissa, who is past her due date with the couple’s first child. Ferguson pitched in San Diego on Saturday and Sunday and would not have been available Monday. The Dodgers will add another arm Tuesday, and Ferguson will be the fifth Dodgers player this season to be placed on the paternity list.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.