Once again, (Edit, actually I shouldn’t say once again, as this loss snapped the Dodger’s three game winning streak.) the Dodgers played flat uninspired, passion-less Baseball, and were unable to hold onto a two run eighth inning lead. For the second straight game, the Dodgers tussled with the Padres in extra innings, but this time they took the tough loss in eleven frames 6-3.
The Dodgers made so many improvements to the position player roster, but perhaps the one area that needed upgrading the most, is the manager. Don Mattingly again fumbled through another game with his terrible pitching staff management. With the bullpen taxed he brought in Matt “give it away” Guerrier, with the Dodgers up 3-1 in the top of the eighth. The overpriced bum instantly blew the game, allowing a single to Headley, and a two-run home run to Yasmani Grandal, which tied the game in the top of the eighth. As soon as that guy’s name was announced over the Chavez Ravine P.A. System, the game was blown.
It was a real shame, because Clayton Kershaw gave the Dodgers another fantastic outing. Kersh pitched seven frames, allowing just a solo home run to Chris Denorfia in the top of the first. Kersh gave up just five hits, walked three, and whiffed nine. His nine whiffs, gave him 200 whiffs for the third straight season. That means Kershaw is just the fifth Dodger pitcher ever to have three consecutive 200+ whiff seasons. (Koufax, Drysdale, Nomo, Valenzuela). Unfortunately again, Kershaw’s teammates let him down, and he gets another no-decision. Kershaw’s opponent, old friend, and former Dodger Eric Stults, also came away with a no-decision, after giving up just one run on seven hits through six innings. For Stults, his Baseball life came full circle. Stults was drafted by the Dodgers in 2002, and pitched for us from 2006-2009, before being sold to Japan in spring training of 2010. If you remember, Stults pitched the only complete game shut-out for the 95 win 2009 Boys in Blue.
It’s not like the Dodgers didn’t have plenty of chances to win this game, but instead played a choke filled game full of blunders. They had two base runners picked off of third base. Luis Cruz made a costly throwing error in the top of the eleventh inning. Not to mention the offense left nine runners on base, and the team was just 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Playoff teams generally don’t make those kind of errors in crucial games like this. On the plus side, Mark Ellis collected three hits. Gonzalez had two hits, and Andre Ethier crushed another home run. We saw the return of Elymania during the extra frames. Ely pitched two innings, and allowed the Padre’s three runs in the top half of the eleventh. Logan Forsythe knocked in the go-ahead runs with a two run single, and Headley added more insult with an RBI single of his own. To be fair to Ely, Cochito’s error really screwed the inning. Ely takes the loss in relief, and San Diego noob, Tommy Layne picks up the win. Luke Gregerson recorded his fourth save of the season pitching a scoreless bottom of the eleventh.
Chris Denorfia hits the first dam pitch of the game halfway up the left field pavilion seats for a homerun. Once again, the Dodger pitching staff continues to give up runs in the first innings. Kershaw settles down after this. Logan Forsythe grounds back to the box. Chase Headley, and his annoying head, pops out to Cruz. Carlos Quentin grounds out to third. San Diego leads 1-0.
Old friend Eric Stults begins the bottom of the first with a double to Mark Ellis. Shane Victorino sacrifice bunts M.Ellis to third. With one out, and Adrian Gonzalez at the plate, M.Ellis is caught napping, Yasmani Grandal makes a snap throw to third, and they pick off M.Ellis. Huge Tootblan. Gonzo lines out to right anyways, and the Dodgers run themselves right out of an early run.
Top of the second. Kershaw walks Grandal. Yonder Alonso flies out to center. Consecutive force outs from Everth Cabrera, and Cameron Maybin end the frame. With two outs in the bottom of the second, Andre Ethier slams another home run over the right field wall, to tie the game up at 1-1. That’s Ethier’s third homer in the last four games. Number 17 on the season, and also it’s his 1000 career hit. Congrats Andre!
Kershaw whiffs old friend Stults to begin the top of the third. Denorfia is called out on strikes for the second out. Forsythe singles to right. Headley grounds out to Gonzo, who makes a nice sprawling stop on his knees for the third out. Bottom of the third. A.J. Ellis walks. Kershaw sacrifices him to second. M.Ellis dribbles out back to the box, and Victorino grounds out to third, leaving AJ stranded at third.
Kershaw whiffs Quentin to start the top of the fourth. Grandal singles up the middle. Alonso doubles into the gap, sending Grandal to third. Kemp made a dive for it, but came up just short. Kershaw then recovers to whiff Maybin for the second out. Kershaw then whiffs Everth Cabrera on a nice hook, to end the frame, and the Dodgers get out of it! Bottom of the fourth. Stults allows a Gonzo single to begin the frame. Bison flies out to deep center. Haney grounds into a force play. Hanley steals second base, but Ethier taps back to the mound to end the inning.
Kershaw pitches a scoreless top of the fifth. He whiffs Stults, for his sixth whiff of the game. Forsythe walks with two outs, which brings up Headley. Kershaw retires him on a grounder to third. Still tied at 1-1. In the bottom of the fifth. Stults gives up a single to Cruz. AJ flies out to deep center. Kershaw whiffs trying to bunt. That’s the only whiff so far for Stults. M.Ellis singles Cruz to third, but of course Victorino ruins another scoring rally, with a grounder to short. We’re still tied up after five frames.
Kershaw allows a lead-off ground-rule double to Quentin in the top half of the sixth. Grandal’s ground out to second advances Quentin to third. With the Dodger infield up, Kershaw wiggles out of it again. Alonso’s grounder to second, can’t score Quentin. Maybin whiffs, and the Dodgers get out of another jam.
Gonzo doubles to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Kemp singles Gonzalez to third. Of course the Dodgers don’t score, sending more base runners back to the island of stranded runners. Hanley’s grounder to third, is a force out on Gonzalez, as he is picked off third base. Ethier pops up to right. Cruz flies out to center. Choke…choke..choke….
Luis Cruz makes a great back-handed leaping catch on Everth Cabrera’s line drive, for the first out in the top of the seventh. Jesus Guzman whiffs, giving Kershaw his 200 whiff of the season. Denorfia walks, and takes second base on a wild pitch with Forsythe at-bat. Finally Forsythe whiffs, and the Dodgers get out of another jam.
You can close the books on Stults. Dale Thayer comes in from the San Diego bullpen to replace him. The former Dodger pitched well, despite allowing six lead-off runners to reach base. Stults goes six innings, allowing one run, seven hits, one walk, and whiffed one. The Dodgers threaten again in the bottom of the seventh. With Thayer now on the mound, AJ leads off with an infield single to short, he beats out the throw by a step. Pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy batting for Kershaw, sacrifices AJ to second. M.Ellis bloops a pop fly double down the right field line, that falls just inches fair inside the line. AJ advances to third, and the Dodgers have a rally cookin’. Victorino slaps a base knock to center, easily scoring AJ, to finally give the Dodgers the lead 2-1. Victorino is caught in a rundown on the throw home, but is able to safely get back to second, because nobody was covering second base for the Padres on the botched rundown.
San Diego makes another pitching change. Enter lefty Joe Thatcher. Gonzalez’s sac fly to left scores M.Ellis to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. San Diego makes yet another pitching change. Enter righty Brad Boxberger, who whiffs Kemp to end the frame. The Dodgers grab the lead though, and now Kershaw is in line for the win.
Speaking of Kershaw, he is also done for the night. His pitching line looks like this, seven frames, one run allowed, five hits, three walks, and nine whiffs on 116 pitches.
The Dodger’s lead doesn’t last very long, and Kershaw’s win is blown. Matt “give it away” Guerrier serves up the lead on a silver platter. Headley singles. Quentin flies out to left. Grandal smokes a two-run shot to right field, to tie the game up at 3-3. Guerrier walks Alonso. Maybin’s grounder advances Alonso to second. Finally Guerrier is removed (thank god). Enter lefty Randy Choate. Cabrera walks. Mark Kotsay hits a grounder down the first base line, Gonzo makes a great play to snare the sharp grounder, and flips to Choate who tags Kotsay on the top of the shoulder as he dives into the first base bag just in time to get the out, and get the Dodgers out of the inning.
Brad Brach comes in to pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Padres. He retires the Dodgers in order. Ronald Belisario comes in from the Dodger bullpen and returns the favor by retiring the Padres in order as well. Move to the bottom of the ninth. Brach still on the mound for San Diego. AJ grounds out. Pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu walks. M.Ellis flies out to center. Victorino grounds out to short. We’re going to extra innings again.
In the top of the tenth, the Dodgers are forced to bring in John Ely, because the bullpen is totally burned out. Now we haven’t seen Ely in almost two years, but he has had a very good year in Albuquerque. Ely starts by getting Quentin to ground out. Grandal flies out to center. Alonso flies out to center, to end the frame. Elymania is back!
San Diego brings in another lefty noob. This one is Tommy Layne. The kid has a weird delivery. He whiffs Gonzo. Bison whiffs. We move to the eleventh.
Top of the eleventh. Cameron Maybin singles. Cabrera lays down a bunt, but Cruz makes a bad throw, to the wrong side of the bag, and the ball hits the runner and goes down the line. Maybin goes to third, and Cabrera advances to second, on the two-base error. A rare misplay by Cochito. Alexi Amarista grounds out to second, with the Dodger infield in, Maybin can’t score. Wil Venable is intentionally walked to load the bases. Forsythe a line drive single to center scores two, and the Padres take the lead 5-3. At this point, we all know the game is over. San Diego added another run on an RBI single from Headley. Ely has to whiff Quentin, and Grandal to end the frame.
Luke Gregerson pitches a scoreless bottom of the eleventh to secure the win for San Diego. The Dodgers fall to 73-64, and lose a game to the Cardinals, who won their game against the Mets. We got lucky, that the Dbacks beat the Giants in extra innings too, so we don’t lose any ground in the division. The Dodgers are now 1.5 games behind in the wild card race, but remain 4.5 back of the Giants in the NL West.
The Dodgers are running out of time here. Only 25 games remain. If the Dodgers are going to make a run, the time is now. If they can’t and do not make the playoffs, I think someone should be held responsible. It all starts and ends with the manager, and general manager. What do you guys think? I’m too frustrated right now to give anymore useful analysis, so I’ll go ahead and log off for the night. Tomorrow lefty Clayton Richard, will battle Aaron Harang in the rubber game tomorrow evening. Go Blue.