This is not how Dodgers manager Dave Roberts envisioned September going for his team. The club beat the Padres 1-0 on September 1, improving to 92-41. Since then, the Dodgers have failed to win a game, suffering 10 consecutive defeats: three to the Padres, three to the Diamondbacks, and four to the Rockies. In a slightly larger picture, the Dodgers have lost 15 of their last 16 ballgames.
The Dodgers suffered an 8-1 loss to the Rockies on Sunday afternoon. The Rockies scored twice against Rich Hill over his five innings of work and Mark Reynolds put the cherry on top of the sundae with an eighth-inning grand slam off of Walker Buehler. Tony Wolters tacked on an RBI single for good measure and Trevor Story drilled a solo homer in the ninth. Tyler Chatwood started and tossed five shutout innings. Carlos Estevez, Mike Dunn, Scott Oberg, and Adam Ottavino stymied the Dodgers over the final four frames. Alex Verdugo hit his first major league home run, a solo shot, in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little, too late.
Entering Sunday’s action, Dodger pitching combined to put up a 6.24 ERA in the nine previous games between September 2-9. That includes 14 home runs allowed in 79 1/3 innings. The offense had combined to hit a thoroughly unimpressive .197/.255/.340 in 319 plate appearances since September 2.
The 88-55 Nationals, who clinched the NL East on Sunday, have made up some ground to the 92-51 Dodgers in the race for home field advantage.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.