James Paxton adds to Dodgers weekend pitching woes

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers were working on a short bullpen on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. 

They used four relievers in Friday’s loss and a staggering eight in Saturday’s extra inning comeback win. With only a handful of relief arms available, they needed a long outing from starter James Paxton. What they got was…not that. 

Paxton was only able to throw four innings against the Giants, working longer than he likely would have if the Dodgers were operating at full capacity out of their ‘pen. He allowed 12 hits, two walks, and nine earned runs on the afternoon. 

A Giants offense that put the screws on Tyler Glasnow on Saturday was at it again in the series finale. They avoided pitches outside the strike zone and jumped on those inside of it, swinging at almost 80 percent of the latter variety. Giants hitters averaged a 98.0 MPH exit velocity against Paxton’s knuckle curve & 96.7 against his four-seamer. 

The start marked Paxton’s third-shortest of the year, but his most runs allowed by a fairly wide margin. His previous worst was a June 5th start against Pittsburgh where he allowed six earned in just 1.2 innings of work. The shorthanded relief corps, though, forced him to endure longer than he would have under normal circumstances. 

It’s a discouraging outing for Paxton for similar reasons to Glasnow’s Saturday struggles. There was a certain level of momentum he’d built up since that start in Pittsburgh, including increased strikeout numbers. But San Francisco came in with an aggressive mindset at the plate that perhaps Dodger starters weren’t prepared for, given their general approach demonstrated this season. 

The good news for the Dodgers staff is that they’ll get a day off on Monday and a chance to recharge before hosting Arizona and Milwaukee for three each this year. Both are top 10 offenses in terms of run production and are each in the top half of the league in walks.

With that in mind, the work doesn’t get easier, but the team will at least be working with a staff more at full strength than they were all weekend given the off day.

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