Despite this afternoon’s choke-fest, Dodger fans all acrosss the globe were elated after The big announcement of the return of Vin Scully for next year. The greatest broadcaster ever will return to the Dodger’s broadcast booth for another season in 2013. Vinny made the announcement before the game in a press conference. He told everyone that Baseball is his love affair, and that the love affair is seven days a week. When asked if he were to return after 2013, he said it was up to his wife and god. He is so humble and classy, it’s amazing. When his return was announced to the crowd, Vin blew a kiss to the crowd, which was viewed by everyone on the Dodger Stadium Diamond Vision. Scully will keep the same schedule and announce all California and Arizona games, but may possibly announce a game at Yankee Stadium, if the Dodgers play the Yanks next season.
After last night’s awesomeness, today was like a hangover. It was definitely a letdown. For the Dodgers it was the same old song and dance, and I wish someone would just turn off the jukebox. The Dodgers stranded 16 men on base today, and were 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position. The new and improved Dodger lineup just couldn’t hit opposing starter Mark Buehrle, as the Fish hit four home runs off of Dodger pitching, (two off of Aaron Harang, and two off of Shawn Tolleson), in the Dodger’s 6-2 loss to the fish. The Dodgers did not get the sweep, but did win the series, and finish by winning 4 of six against the Marlins on the season
All day the Dodgers got men on base, and just left them there, constantly. Runners get on base, runners get stranded. Runners got into scoring position, runners left standing. Bases loaded….nope! Apparently this was tied for the most runners left on base for the Dodgers since 1993. Although I would have to double check the books.
Lefty Mark Buehrle was annoyingly effective in picking up his 12th win of the season to improve to 12-11. Buehrle pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits, one walk, and four whiffs. Aaron Harang took the loss as he allowed three runs on six hits through 5.1 innings. Harang whiffed four and walked only one, but the home runs killed him. The Fish bullpen took the game the rest of the way, as Steve Cishek pitched the final inning and a third to pick up his 11th save.
The Dodger offense scored two runs on 11 hits. Andre Ethier’s streak of consecutive hits was snapped at ten after he was struck out in the bottom of the first inning. His current streak reminded me of his amazing 30 gamer last season. Ethier wet 1 for 5 in the game with an RBI. Dre had nine hits in the series. The Dodgers scored first on back to back singles from Mat Kemp, and Adrian Gonzalez. The Fish scored once in the fourth inning, when Giancarlo Stanton hit another monster home run, his third of the series. Then the Fish took the lead for good in the top of the fifth when Solano singled, and rookie catcher Rob Brantly blasted a two-run shot off of Harang. The Fish put the game away when they scored once in the top of the eighth on a Gregg Dobbs double, a ground out, an intentional walk, and a Hanley Ramirez fielding error. Two more Fish runs came across the plate when Jose Reyes, and Carlos Lee, (the taxman) hit back to back home runs off of Shawn Tolleson.
The Dodgers had their best look at the game in the bottom of the eighth, when they loaded the bases off the Fish bullpen, but Adrian Gonzalez just missed hitting a grand slam home run, instead flying out to the warning track. Shane Victorino was back in the lineup today after being scratched last night because of back tightness. Nick Punto made his first start for the Dodgers at second base. Punto went 1 for 3 with two walks, and a run scored. He also made a couple of great defensive plays as well. There also was a weird obstruction call on Andre Ethier because Carlos Lee ran right into him, while Dre was on first base. Fish sticks anyone?
Harang begins the top of the first by getting Bryan Peterson to fly to left. Justin Ruggiano singles to left. Jose Reyes flies out to Victorino for the second out. With the taxman, Carlos Lee batting RUggiano steals second base, as Matt Treanor’s throw hits him in the rear end. Lee sends a grounder up the middle, new guy Nick Punto, makes a great diving stop, and gets up to fire to third, and catch Ruggiano caught off guard. The Dodgers catch Ruggiano in a rundown and finally tag him between third and home plate. As Vin notes, that’s one way of finally getting out of the first inning without allowing a run. The Dodgers had previously allowed first inning run or runs to the opposition in five games in a row.
Mark Buerhle starts the bottom of the first for the Fish, by whiffing Shane Victorino. Newcomer Nick Punto draws a walk. Matt Kemp smacks a base hit to left. Our new darling Adrian Gonzalez singles into right to score Punto, and the Dodgers tie it up at 1-1. Hanley Ramirez whiffs on a called third strike, while Kemp and Gonzalez are pulling a double steal. Andre Ethier steps up to the plate with a chance to make history, but whiffs. Ethier’s record of ten consecutive at-bats comes to an end. Tis ok Dre.
Skip to the top of the fourth. The Fish tie the game up on a monster home run from Giancarlo Stanton. That’s his third home run of the series, and his 29 of the season. Last night he hit a moon shot that almost went out of the stadium.
The Marlins plate two more runs in the top of the fifth, as Harang continues to suck. A Donovan Solano single, and a big two run home run from rookie catcher Rob Brantly, off of a hanging Harang meatball. 3-1 Fish.
Things get weird for the Dodgers in the bottom of the seventh.The Dodgers would plate one to make it a one run game in the bottom of the seventh. However a strange obstruction call would mar the inning. Matt Kemp walks. Gonzalez singles. After Hanley whiffs, Ethier singles home Bison to make it a 3-2 game. The run is charged to Mike Dunn. The Fish bring in Chad Guadin. Luis Cruz hits a pop up towards first. Brantly goes to make the catch in foul ground but drops it. But since Lee bumps right into Ethier, the umps think it is interference. They call Dre, and Cruz out. Mattingly comes out to argue, and eventually the umps reverse their decision. Cruz is allowed to bat again, but Dre is called out for obstruction. Although it looked like Lee bumped into Dre, and Dre was within his right as he was within the proper base path. It was a weird play. It didn’t much matter since Cruz made out anyways.
Move to the top of the eighth. With one out in the eighth, and Ronald Belisario on the mound, Dobbs doubles over Gonzalez’s head. A ground ball advances him to third. Brantly is intentionally walked. Pinch-hitter Austin Kearns is walked to load the bases. Mattingly hooks Belisario to bring in lefty loogy Randy Choate. Bryan Peterson hits an easy grounder to Hanley, but he tries to backhand it, and it bounces off his glove, allowing a run to score. Finally the inning ends on Justin Ruggiano’s whiff.
With Heath Bell on the mound and one out in the bottom of the eight, A.J. Ellis in a rare pinch-hitting role singles. Victorino singles as well. After Nick Punto whiffs, the fish hook Bell, and bring in righty Steve Cishek. Kemp walks to load the bases, but Gonzalez’s long fly is just short, caught at the warning track in right field. The Fish get two more runs to put the game away for good in the top of the ninth. Reyes, and Lee both homer back to back off of Shawn Tolleson to make it a 6-2 game. The Dodgers put two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, after Hanley walks, and Adam Kennedy is hit by a pitch, but they don’t score.
The Dodgers drop to 69-69, and are now 2.5 games behind the Giants, who are playing the Braves at home on Sunday night Baseball. If the Braves can beat the Giants, then the Dodgers will remain two back in the division. The Dodgers are also 1.5 games behind in the wild card race.
Tomorrow the Dodgers will fly to Colorado for a three game series before coming right back home. Josh Beckett will make his Dodger debut in Coors Field. He will counter Jeff Francis. We hope you will join us tomorrow night for more detailed Dodger coverage. Chin up Dodger fans, we still have time to recover. Go Blue.