DENVER -- The Los Angeles Dodgers accessorized themselves at the non-waiver trade deadline, but they did not have any fun in their first game since they retooled their roster.
Yet it was the April and May version of the Dodgers that surfaced Tuesday in a 7-3 defeat to open a three-game series at Coors Field against the resurgent Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers managed just two hits over five innings against Rockies starter Jon Gray, looking nothing like the run-scoring juggernaut that had been terrorizing teams since the start of July.
"I think that it was pretty simple: Their guy gave them a good start, we dug ourselves a hole, we battled back and got some runs late, but we have to kind of brush this one off and be ready to go tomorrow," manager Dave Roberts said, crumpling up mental notes of this one and throwing them in the garbage.
Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson all entered Tuesday's game on offensive tears, but Gray masterfully maneuvered around all of that, as well as a 38-minute rain delay in the first inning.
There is no reason for alarm, of course, and Tuesday can be considered just a blip in what has been an incredibly productive run for the Dodgers. And the San Francisco Giants lost, meaning the Dodgers remained two games back in the National League West standings.
But while the Dodgers have made up 4 1/2 games on the Giants since the break, the Rockies have suddenly made up eight games and have gone from 16 games behind the Giants to eight. They are now six games behind the Dodgers, lurking in third place.
Tuesday's game failed to reveal improvements from the new lineup, but you didn't have to squint that hard to see it. Reddick's presence in the cleanup spot made the Dodgers a deeper threat down to No. 6 hitter Grandal, who hit eight home runs in July; No. 7 hitter Pederson, who has homered in his last three games; and No. 8 hitter Kendrick, who hit .344 with a.425 OBP in July.
Yet the Dodgers didn't score their first runs of the night until the eighth inning, when Turner cracked a two-run double off the right-center field wall. Grandal added a right-handed home run in the ninth, his 16th of the season.
As for the players involved in recent changes: Reddick went 0-for-4, Hill said more will be known about his blister Wednesday, Chavez gave up two runs on two walks and three hits in an inning, and Puig was still packing.
"As a reliever you have to get over it and take the little things that were good and build off of that," Chavez shortly after his Dodgers debut was complete. "Erase the negatives."
Chavez talked about the whirlwind of being involved in a trade one day, then pitching for a new team the next, but he did not want to make it sound like an excuse.
"It's been a while since it's been a midseason trade for me," he said. "But then again, you still have to go out and do your job. For me, today, getting ahead wasn't the problem, it was putting them away. That's something that I have to nip in the bud, and it has been a little problem here and there this season. It's making quality pitches, and tonight that wasn't the case."
This one really never got off the ground as starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy's outing was interrupted by first-inning rain. He delivered a scoreless first, but gave up a hit, two walks and a wild pitch in the process. There was a walk, a single and an RBI for the Rockies' first run, and when he walked two to open the fourth he was lifted after 85 pitches.
Tommy John surgery has been known to present its challenges even when pitchers get back on the mound, and McCarthy looked to be proof of that. He compared his day on the mound to walking down the street and not being able to get one leg in sync with the other. A stumble indeed.
McCarthy said he was OK with knowing there will be difficulties at times, but said, "We're still in the big leagues, and it's a pennant race. We have to find ways to get through it, deeper into games and find ways to make it workable. You feel terrible. You think you're doing everything right, and I don't know what's going on."
Up next on the mound will be rookie right-hander Brock Stewart, who'll make his second career start. He will be officially added to the roster before Wednesday's game. In his only other outing, he gave up five runs on eight hits over five innings at Milwaukee on June 29, three days after Clayton Kershaw last pitched.
But the Dodgers' run of solid play since Kershaw went down has not necessarily been related to starting pitching. It has been about that offense and a stingy bullpen, not that either were there for them Tuesday.
The numbers say this was just one of those nights. After all, the Dodgers went 15-9 in July, led by a National League-leading 5.25 runs per game. They also led the NL in on-base percentage (.349) and were tied for the lead in batting average (.277).
"It's hard to even evaluate it," McCarthy said. "It feels fine, it's just working through the ups and downs of the season. You don't have your usual checks and balances I guess."
McCarthy was talking about himself, of course, but he might as well have been talking about the Dodgers dealing with a tough night two months before the end of the season.