The Dodger’s five game winning streak was snapped Tuesday night in St.Louis as the Cardinals evened the four game series with an 8-2 win over the Dodgers. This was a regression game for both, Manager Don Mattingly, Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers, and Kershaw’s sweaty jersey, as Kershaw and the Dodgers melted down in a game that looked like they had it in the bag. The Dodgers had jumped out in front on opposing starter Adam Wainwright for two runs in the top of the fourth. There was an RBI opposite field ground rule double from Juan Rivera, and an RBI single fro Luis Cruz.
Kershaw would be charged with eight runs, allowing two runs in the bottom of the fifth, and six runs in the bottom of the sixth, to raise his ERA to 3.14. The Cardinals had three doubles from Beltran, Craig, and Wainwright himself. Remember it was about 104 degrees in St. Louis, and while Kershaw breezed through the first four innings, only allowing one hit, and a hit batter until the fifth.
Of course, with the hot weather, you have to watch Kershaw, or any pitcher very carefully, and Mattingly made two curious moves in the bottom of the sixth, that led to the Dodger loss. One was walking number eight hitter Descalso, and leaving in Kershaw when it was obvious he was melting down.
Again, let’s review all of the tell tale signs of a meltdown to help Donnie recognize for next time.
1. Not throwing strikes, and missing the strike zone. (also walking opposing pitchers)-Check
2. Hanging pitches and allowing extra base hits.
3. Not getting outs.
4. Sweaty jersey drenched in perspiration.
I mean it’s not brain surgery. I knew it would be a meltdown, because I knew Mattingly would just leave Kershaw in to meltdown. After all I watch every game and I know how he manages. However, I’m sorry Donnie, because it was a moot point, since the Dodger’s punch-less offense couldn’t be bothered to score more than two runs, making the argument moot. Anyways, here is how the crapfest played out.
Top of the first. Jerry Hairston reaches on an error by Cardinal’s first baseman Lance Berkman, who can’t pick the throw from former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal. Mark Ellos grounds into a force play. Matt Kemp flies out to deep center. Andre Ethier is called out on a called check-swing strike three to end the frame. Our former beloved shortstop Rafael Furcal, also known as Hit Machine, begins the bottom of the first, off of his former teammate Clayton Kershaw, and flies out to left. Allen Craig grounds out to short, with a nice pick from James Loney at first. The Mothman Matt Holliday flies out to right, and we’re no score.
In the top of the second, Loney pops out. Juan Rivera whiffs, and Luis Cruz grounds out to third. Kershaw whiffs Carlos Beltran to start the bottom of the second. Last year’s World Series MVP David Freese, grounds out. Kershaw whiffs Catcher Yadier Molina like a rented mule, and we’re still scoreless after two frames.
Wainwright whiffs Matt Treanor to begin the top of the third. Kershaw whiffs for the second out. Hairston collects a two out double just fair inside the right field line. That’s the first hit of the game for the Dodgers. Mark Ellis grounds out to end the frame, and the Dodgers don’t score.
Leading off the bottom of the third, Kershaw hits Lance Berkman in the knee with a pitch. Berkman is shaken up, as he has a history of knee problems. The coaching staff checks him out, and he seems to be ok. He stays in the game. Daniel Descalso lines a hit back up the middle, that Kershaw has to duck to get out of the way. Berkman moves to second, then is lifted for a pinch-runner. Wainwright sacrifices the runners to second and third. Hit Machine hits a grounder to third, hairston throws home to force pinch-runner Matt Carpenter, who was running on contact for the second out. The runners advance to second and third on the play. Kershaw gets Craig to ground out, and the Dodgers get out of it.
Kemp whiffs to open the top of the fourth. Ethier walks. Loney singles to right. Juan Rivera goes the other way with an opposite field RBI ground rule double, that bounces over the fence. Ethier scores, and Loney goes to third. Cruz follows with a base hit to right over Hit Machine’s head, to score Loney, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead. With runners at the corners now, Treanor is whiffed on a called third strike that looked borderline. Kershaw grounds out, and the Cardinals contain the damage to two runs. Holliday lines out to Bison to start the bottom of the fourth. Beltran whiffs, and Freese grounds out. Kershaw needs just seven pitches to retire the Cardinals in order.
Hairston leads off with a single in the top of the fifth. Mark Ellis whiffs. Kemp whiffs. Ethier’s check-swing grounder ends the frame. Still 2-0 Dodgers. Bottom of the fifth. Molina grounds out. Matt Carpenter flies out. Then Kershaw just loses it. Descalso singles to center. Opposing starter Wainwright helps his own cause by doubleing over Rivera’s head to score Descalso. Hit Machine immediately bloops a single to score Wainwright, and the game is tied just like that. Craig shatters his bat with a ground out to third, to end the frame.
Top of the sixth. The game is now tied at 2-2. Loney singles to right. Rivera a long fly to right. Cruz grounds into a double play to end the inning. The Cardinals score six runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Kershaw melts down like a Popsicle on a hot summer’s day. Holliday walks. Beltran doubles him to third. Freese singles up the middle, Holliday scores, and the Redbirds take the lead 3-2. Molina whiffs for the first out, while Freese steals second. Carpenter flies out to left, and the Dodgers are close to getting out of the inning. For some strange reason Mattingly decides to walk the number eight hitter, Descalso, and go after Wainwright. Bad Move. Wainwright walks with the bases loaded to force in a run. There is a coaching visit to the mound from Rick Honeycutt. Kerhsaw’s jersey is drenched in sweat. Furcal’s infield single to second scores two runs. Mark Ellis stops the ball from going into the outfield, but now it is 6-2 Cards. Josh Lindblom comes into replace Kershaw and serves up a two-run double to Craig, to make it an 8-2 game. Yeah, it’s over. Holliday whiffs, but the game is blown.
Wainwright pitches another scoreless frame in the top of the seventh, this time with a six run lead. Treanor flies out. Kennedy singles. Hairston grounds into a double play. Shawn Tolleson pitches a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Adam Wainwright goes out for the top of the eighth. After getting M. Ellis to ground out, he hits Bison with a pitch, and is hooked for Mark Rzepczynski. Loney hits into one of his signature inning ending double play balls, and ends the frame.
Wainwright, comes out after 7.1 innings, allowing two runs, seven hits, one walk, and seven whiffs, on 104 pitches. Kershaw makes 105 pitches in 5.2, and is charged with eight runs on seven hits. He whiffs four, and his ERA rises above 3.00 to 3.14.
Javy Guerra pitches the top of the ninth, and keeps the score at 8-2 with a scoreless frame. Mitchell Boggs comes in to pitch the top of the ninth. Rivera grounds out. Cruz lines out. Treanor whiffs, and that’s the game. The Dodgers drop to 53-45, and if the Giants win their game against San Diego tonight, the Dodgers would be back to 2.5 games back in the NL West.
On the bright side, Luis Cruz is mashing the ball, and has knocked in nine runs in his last seven games, and leads the Dodgers with 11 RBI since the all-star break, so there is that. Tomorrow is another day Dodger fam. Aaron Harang will take on 10-game winner Kyle Lohse tomorrow night at 5:15PM. Join us for another exciting night of Dodger Baseball, and our nightly Dodger coverage. Go Blue.