May 26, 2024

The Dodgers had their best pitcher on the mound in Tyler Glasnow, the 6-foot-8 right-hander who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in December and signed to a five-year, $136.5-million extension to be the team’s ace.

They had their most dangerous hitter at the plate for the game’s most critical moment in Shohei Ohtani, the two-time American League most valuable player who was signed to a 10-year, $700-million deal in December to power what was expected to be one of baseball’s most lethal lineups.

Neither delivered in a 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals in front of 42,677 at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, the team’s fourth loss in five games.

Glasnow, who entered with a 3-0 record and 2.25 ERA, gave up six earned runs and eight hits, including two homers, in five innings, striking out five and walking two, and suffered his first loss as a Dodger.

Ohtani had a chance to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh when, with the Dodgers trailing 6-3, he stepped to the plate against Nationals right-hander Hunter Harvey with two on after James Outman’s leadoff single to left field and Mookie Betts’ two-out single to right.

Ohtani hit the ball on the nose, sending a 98-mph line drive to center field but well within the reach of Jacob Young, who ran toward the gap in left-center for an inning-ending catch.

Glasnow overpowered the Minnesota Twins with his fastball in his previous start on April 9, a seven-inning, no-run, three-hit, 14-strikeout effort in which he induced 12 swinging strikes and 12 called strikes among his 45 four-seamers.

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani reacts after a missed swing against the Washington Nationals.

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani reacts after a missed swing against the Washington Nationals.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The velocity of his fastball (96.2 mph) Monday was virtually identical to his 96.3-mph season average, but he was hardly dominant with the pitch, inducing three swinging strikes and 12 called strikes among his 47 fastballs.

Washington leadoff man CJ Abrams gave a hint of the kind of night it would be for Glasnow when he slammed the first pitch of the game, a 95.5-mph fastball, to right-center for a double. Abrams took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

The Dodgers scored single runs in the first (singles by Ohtani and Freddie Freeman, Will Smith sacrifice fly) and second (Max Muncy double, Chris Taylor sacrifice fly) innings off Nationals left-hander Mitchell Parker, who was making his major league debut, to take a 2-1 lead.

But Abrams led off the third with a towering home run to right-center, his fourth of the season, and Jesse Winker doubled to left and scored on Joey Gallo’s RBI double to right for a 3-2 Washington lead.

Glasnow gave up a one-out single to Winker and a two-out walk to Gallo in the fifth. He was one pitch away from escaping the jam when he left a full-count slider up and over the plate to Luis Garcia Jr., who drove a three-run home run — his first of the season — to left field for a 6-2 Nationals lead.

Ohtani reached on catcher’s inference to lead off the sixth, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Smith’s groundout to trim Washington’s lead to 6-3. Teoscar Hernández doubled with two outs in the eighth and scored on Muncy’s RBI single to right to make it 6-4.

Players from both teams gathered around the Jackie Robinson statue in the center-field plaza Monday afternoon to mark the 77th anniversary of the Hall of Fame Dodgers infielder breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947, with speeches from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Nationals manager Dave Martinez, former Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith and renowned sports sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards.

Players and coaches on the Dodgers and Washington Nationals take part in a tribute to Jackie Robinson.

Players and coaches on the Dodgers and Washington Nationals take part in a tribute to Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon.

(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

“As we talk about with the Dodgers, doing something that’s bigger than ourselves, living a life that’s more important than ourselves, there’s no person that exemplified that better than Jackie Robinson,” Roberts said. “He had a big burden in his life to be a professional baseball player, but to take on all this negativity, this hate towards him, his wife, his kids, and to still persevere … was amazing.”

Martinez said Robinson “exemplifies what it means to have strength, courage, and passion. What he endured was incredible. He had the dignity to do what he did when everybody was on his back. That’s tough to do. As you guys all know, this game is hard enough. What he did back in those days, I couldn’t imagine being in that situation.”

Pitching plans

Right-hander Kyle Hurt, who has been pitching in two-inning stints for triple-A Oklahoma City, joined the Dodgers on Monday and was expected to be activated this week, most likely to start a bullpen game Tuesday night or Wednesday, Roberts said.

Top pitching prospect Landon Knack is also expected to be called up this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who is unauthorized to speak publicly, to either start or pitch in a bulk relief role.

If all goes well for Walker Buehler in Thursday’s rehabilitation start — meaning the right-hander pitches five innings or so and throws 80-90 pitches, “there’s a real conversation on if he would join us or not [next week],” Roberts said. Buehler is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched since June 2022.

Right-hander Ricky Vanasco, who has pitched in seven minor league seasons without appearing in a big league game, was recalled before Monday’s, and right-hander J.P. Feyereisen was optioned back to triple A.

Rehab report

Jason Heyward is experiencing some residual soreness from the lower-back tightness that sent him to the injured list on April 3, and Roberts said the veteran right fielder would need to go on a minor league rehab assignment “given the time off that he’s had and is going to have,” Roberts said.

“Jason is going to get back to doing some baseball activity. He’s trending in the right direction as far as feeling better. … I still believe it’s going to be shorter-term from here, but I don’t know what the timeline is.”

An MRI test on Emmet Sheehan’s injured forearm revealed no structural damage, and the right-hander, who has been shut down from throwing twice since the start of spring training, said he expected to begin throwing again “soon,” perhaps in the next week or two. But Roberts said Sheehan was still “a ways away” from a possible return.

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