Dodgers look flat on Shohei Ohtani bobblehead night

Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES — Long lines snaked out from Dodger Stadium entrances a good three hours before Thursday night’s game, and most of the 53,527 fans in attendance were in their seats well before first pitch, a rarity for the notoriously late-arriving Chavez Ravine crowds.

The draw? A Shohei Ohtani bobblehead doll, the two-way star’s first as a Dodger since signing a 10-year, $700-million deal in December, that was given to the first 40,000 fans through the turnstiles.

“It’s great for Shohei, it’s good for the Dodgers,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game against the Cincinnati Reds. “I mean, it’s gonna be a hot-ticket item for fans lucky enough to grab one of those.”

For those who arrived too late to get an Ohtani doll, the Dodgers can commiserate. They, too, left Chavez Ravine empty handed, managing only four singles — one a bloop, one that didn’t leave the infield — against seven pitchers in a 7-2 loss to a struggling Reds team that had lost 15 of its previous 19 games.

Cincinnati shortstop Elly De La Cruz had four hits, a walk, an RBI and a career-high four stolen bases, and Dodgers ace Tyler Glasnow was roughed up for four runs and six hits in five innings, as the Dodgers lost their second straight game, their first such streak since they lost three in a row to Washington and the New York Mets on April 17-20.

Reds right-hander Nick Martinez, the fourth pitcher in a bullpen game, entered to start the third inning and threw five one-hit innings, striking out four and walking none, to earn the victory.

Cincinnati broke open a 4-0 game with three runs in the top of the ninth off reliever Nick Ramirez for a 7-0 lead, a rally that included Stuart Fairchild’s RBI double and Mike Ford’s RBI single, to snap the Dodgers’ string of 22 games in which they had held an opponent to four runs or less since April 21, a franchise record.

The Dodgers avoided the shutout when Gavin Lux grounded a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single to right field to cut the deficit to 7-2.

Glasnow was nearly untouchable in his previous four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, striking out 39 and walking six in 28 innings and yielding a .158 average (15 for 95), but his first three innings Thursday night were more of a grind.


Reds leadoff man Will Benson opened the game by crushing a down-the-middle, 96-mph fastball 439 feet into the right-field pavilion for his sixth home run of the season.

De La Cruz followed with a single to center and stole second, pushing his major league stolen-base lead to 27, and he scored on Tyler Stephenson’s two-out RBI double to left for a 2-0 lead.

De La Cruz led off the third inning with a ground-rule double to left and swiped third for his 28th stolen base. Glasnow stiffened, striking out Ford with an 84-mph curveball and Spencer Steer with a 96-mph fastball, but Stephenson dunked a two-out, broken-bat RBI single into right-center field for a 3-0 Cincinnati lead.

De La Cruz generated another run with his speed in the fifth when he drew a one-out walk and stole second and third. Ford struck out looking at an 88-mph slider, and Steer struck out on a nasty 90-mph slider in the dirt, but the pitch bounced past catcher Austin Barnes and to the backstop, allowing De La Cruz to score for a 4-0 lead.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, De La Cruz’s 30 stolen bases is the most through a team’s first 44 games since Kenny Lofton swiped 41 bags in that same span in 1996.

Lofton finished with 75 stolen bases that season; De La Cruz, who has more stolen bases than 18 of 30 major league teams, is on pace for 110 stolen bases.

In what amounted to a Pyrrhic victory for the Dodgers, Barnes threw out De La Cruz attempting to steal second base to end the seventh inning, only the fifth time this season the Reds speedster has been caught stealing.

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