If you are looking for a recap that is all sunshine and puppies, then you might want to look somewhere else. The reason is because this recap is going to be down, and dirty, and I am going to tell it like it is. You may disagree, but you can’t disagree with the outcomes. The Dodger Bullpen sucks. It blows. I think I am actually being kind here. Before I get into the horrendous bullpen, it was pretty apparent the Dodgers were going to lose this afternoon anyways, in the third and final game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, against the last place Cubs.
Before the game we found out that Matt Kemp had experienced tightness in his hamstring, and Mattingly decided to keep him out of the lineup for precautionary reasons. So Kemp sat out, but did get into the game as a pinch-hitter. I don’t think I have to tell you that we have absolutely no chance of beating even the last place teams, without Bison in the lineup, but of course don’t take my words for it, you can see the results for yourself. Tony Gywnn played in CF, and batted eighth, and the rest of the lineup moved up one spot. I had already expected a loss today, since Harang had allowed 16 home runs in Wrigley Field. However despite Bison’s absence from the lineup, the Dodgers had the lead for virtually the whole game, until the ninth inning that is, eventually allowing the Cubs to tie in the bottom of the ninth, and win in the bottom of the eleventh by a score of 4-3.
The game was a typical 2012 Dodger game. A low scoring pitcher’s duel, which saw the offense score just enough runs, and the starting pitching and defense kept us in the game until the cursed ninth inning, where the bullpen bums normally blow it. Juan Rivera was the offensive star of the day, getting the game ball for going 3 for 4 with a home run, and two RBIs. We actually caught a break early on as scheduled starter Matt Garza was scratched because of the flu, and rookie Travis Wood started in his place. Before they got underway, it started to rain, and after a two hour and forty-one minute rain delay, the game finally started. Now that I think back, I wish the game had gotten rained out. It would have saved me the aggravation from having to watch, the Dodgers atrocious bullpen filled with bums.
Anyways, both starting pitchers, Aaron Harang for the Dodgers, and Travis Wood for the Cubs pitched well enough to give their team the win, but of course, the Dodger Bumpen would blow another game. The Dodgers did what they normally do, by scoring early, plating a run in the second, and two runs in the third, to take an early 3-0 lead. In the top of the second, the Dodgers receive a tough break. Jerry Hairston, who was playing at third base for the injured Uribe, who the Dodgers refuse to place on the Disabled List for some reason, singles, but as he is pulling up to first base, he clutches his leg. The injury is…..you guessed it, a pulled hammy. Hairston is taken out of the game, and outmaker Adam Kennedy would run for him and stay in the game at third base. This is a very tough break for the Dodgers. We won’t know more until tomorrow, but it seems as though Hariston is going on the DL, as should Uribe, Sellers has been called up again, and should be back with the team by tomorrow for the start of the homestand. Of course this means with Uribe and Hairston hurt, they have no one to play third base but the awful Adam Kennedy, who is completely worthless offensively and defensively, but I digress.
After the Hairston single, and the injury, James Loney flies out. A.J. Ellis walks. Gwynn walks, loading the bases with one out. The pitcher Aaron Harang, hits into a fielder’s choice force out, which scores Kennedy from third base. The return throw to first base, is way off line, and dropped, so Harang is safe at first, and the run comes in. 1-0 Dodgers. Dee Gordon grounds into a force play to end the inning. Top of the third. Mark Ellis leads off with a single. The Dodgers would only have four hits the whole game. With Ethier at the plate, Ellis steals second. After Ethier whiffs, Juan Rivera slugs his second home run of the season. A two run shot into the left field bleachers. This gives the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. They would be done scoring for the day. To be honest I am surprised they got three runs with no Bison in the lineup.
The Cubs would score two runs in the bottom of the third, to pull to within one run. The opposing pitcher Travis Wood, doubles. David DeJesus walks. Wellington Castillo ground out, advancing the runners to second and third. Starlin Castro, the Cubs young shortstop, who we have learned is a very good hitter, singles up the middle, scoring both Wood, and DeJesus. However Castro is thrown out trying to advance to second, by A.J. Ellis. 3-2 Dodgers.The score would remain the same until the bottom of the ninth inning. While the Dodgers did nothing offensively the rest of the game after the Rivera homer, the Cubs would put runners on base in every inning, but couldn’t get the clutch hit.
In the fourth inning, Lahair doubles, but is stranded at second. In the bottom of the fifth, Wood and Castro both single. However Campana grounds out, and Castro whiffs on a foul tip, to keep the Cubs from scoring. In Harang’s final inning in the bottom of the sixth, he allows a single to Lahair, and a walk to Barney, but gets out of the inning without damage somehow. Harang pitched decent despite wiggling out of jams all day. Harang goes six innings of two run ball, allowing seven hits, walking three and whiffing two. Wood put up a similar line. He pitches six innings as well, allowing three runs on three hits, three walks, and four whiffs. Both pitchers took home no-decisions.
Shawn Camp replaces Wood in the top of the seventh, and retires the Dodgers in order. Matt Kemp comes off the bench this inning to pinch-hit for Harang’s spot, and flies out to center. This keeps his consecutive game streak intact, which was earlier in jeopardy.
Josh Lindblom, one of only two decent relievers in our Bumpen, comes in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning. Watching a real actual relief pitcher is refreshing and odd in some way. James Russell comes into pitch the eighth inning for the Cubs. He allows a piddly single to Dee Gordon, but any hopes of scorin’ are quickly dashed after Ethier grounds into an inning ending double play.
Kenley Jansen good reliever number two, of two, enters for the bottom of the eighth. LaHair singles, and then Soriano whiffs. A wild pitch advances LaHair to second base, where he is left stranded after Mather flies out, and Darwin Barney whiffs. (by the way, who the hell names their kid Darwin Barney?)
Russell pitches the top of the ninth inning without allowing any scorage, other than a measly Rivera single. Bottom of the ninth, in comes Javy Guerra to close it out. If you don’t know what happens next, then you haven’t been paying attention to the Dodgers this season. As much as I like Guerra and have been defending him, after today’s terrible performance, I just can’t defend him any longer. More on that in a minute.
Wellington Castillo starts the inning by whiffing. Ian Stewart, batting for Russell’s spot, he of the .189 blistering batting average, singles into right. Here we go. DeJesus walks, putting runners at first and second. The Dodgers sensing a meltdown try to counsel Guerra on the mound. Stacie and I know from many nights of Bumpen meltdown experience, that that never works. It didn’t. Tony Campana doubles into the gap, that looks like it is going to end the game right there. Stewart scores the tying run, and then DeJesus is thrown out at the plate, on a great throw from Ethier. if not for that Ethier throw, the game would have been blown right there. Somehow Guerra recovers to whiff Starlin Castro to send the game to extra innings.
Top of the tenth. Rafael Dolis pitches a 123 tenth inning, retiring the Dodgers in order. Jamey Wright, pitches the bottom of the tenth, allowing a two out single from Joe Mather, but nothing more. Time is running out for the Dodgers. Top of the eleventh. Dolis still pitching retires the Dodgers, only allowing a single to Rivera. Take note here, the Cubs have relievers who can pitch more than one inning.
Bottom of the eleventh, Mattingly pushes his luck, and tries to get another inning out of Wright. Barney leads off and hits a sharp grounder to third, that the useless and horrible Kennedy boots, and kicks into center field. Barney ends up at second base, and as soon as that happened I knew the game was blown. Castillo is walked intentionally. The Cubs have run out of position players, so pitcher Jeff Samardzija has to hit for Dolis. Samardzija tries to bunt, and give the Dodgers an out. We all know though, that the Dodger Bumpen never ever accepts free outs. It gets in the way of them blowing games.
Anyways Samardzija is hit in the foot with a pitch, so now the bases are loaded with nobody out. Now Mattingly decides to bring in an extra infielder for five infielders. We all know this won’t work. Of course in true Bumpen style, DeJesus is walked, forcing in the game winning run, as Barney scores, and the Dodgers lose two out of three, to the lowly Cubs. Seriously pathetic.
I have some suggestions that may help the Bumpen, much like suggestions in my previous post. First if you don’t think the Dodger Bumpen is a problem, then may I show you some numbers? The Dodgers rank thirteenth in relief ERA, (4.39) They are tied for the second most walks allowed (45), fourth worst WHIP allowed (1.46), and second highest OBP allowed (.358). Those numbers are not acceptable. Activating Belisario should help, granted Mattingly uses him, but it’s still not enough. I have supported Guerra for long enough, but I can’t take anymore of these blown games. Most of the losses this season have been caused by the Bumpen blowing games.
I just can’t take it anymore. I am going to suggest something that may seem unpopular to a lot of Dodger fans, but I think it needs to be done for the good of the team. Guerra, and Elbert need to be sent down to the minors, Coffey needs to be cut, and the Dodgers need to trade for a couple of relief pitchers. I know nobody will be available until the trade deadline in July, but it needs to be done at some point before then. Yes we are going to have to trade one maybe two of our righty pitching prospects. Sucks, but if we want to win this year that is what we are going to have to do. We only have two relief pitchers out of seven. That isn’t going to cut it. So yes, we might have to trade a Chris Withrow, or a Josh Wall, to get a couple of decent relievers, otherwise we can basically throw in the towel on this season. YOU CAN’T WIN WITHOUT A BULLPEN. You just can’t.
I am already hearing people clamoring on twitter to call up Shawn Tolleson, and or Josh Wall, or some of the other prospects in the minors. I just don’t think that is going to work. Part of the problem is the Bumpen is filled with half wet behind the ear rookies, who are way too young and inexperienced, or washed up mediocre vets, who are always hurt. We need a happy medium. We need real actual relief pitchers, (preferably lefty) who are still young enough to be good, but established enough to be able to come into pressure situations to get outs. First things first though, Guerra needs to be taken out of the closer role, and Kenley Jansen must close for the time being, until we figure out what the hell is wrong with Guerra, and or get rid of the rest of the bums.
I might like Guerra, but he’s just not doing it right now. I see a pretty good team here, good starting pitching, solid defense, and two offensive stars. One being the best player in the game, and we also have the best starting pitcher in the game. The only things keeping us back is a lack of power hitting infield corners, and no relief pitching. If you think these metldowns are killing us now, just wait until August and September. The Dodgers better get it fixed. Please don’ t tell me about how other closers are struggling, like Heath Bell, or whatever like that makes it ok, for Guerra and the other Bums to blow game after game after game. I don’t care what any other closers or teams are doing, I only care about the Dodgers.
Sorry for the late response of this postgame, but it took me a while to get over this game. It was most aggravating. I swear, nothing is more aggravating then blown games. It is like you played for nothing. I am still upset about this one.
The Dodgers finally come home tomorrow to start an eight game homestand, three with the Giants, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. The Giants will have Barry Zito on the hill, who has surprisingly gotten off to a good start. The Dodgers will counter with Ted Lilly who will be looking for his fourth win, in a battle of lefties. Check in with us tomorrow for our daily Dodger coverage. We will have more information on Hairston, and Uribe’s conditions. Matt Kemp’s injury isn’t serious, and he should be back in the lineup tomorrow night. (thank god). Goodnight Dodger fans, let’s dream for some relief pitching. I know I will be. Go Blue.