Dbacks 3 5 0 WP – Cahill – 11 – 11
LP – Aaron Harang – 9 – 9 SV – Hernandez – 4
Were talking about practice?
No batting practice and phantom ground ball practice was supposed to loosen the team up. Clearly it didn’t help them with their plate approach. The only person that needs more practice is Don Mattingly. The leader of this heartless group of bums filled out the same old lineup card as he has for last 3 weeks! And even exchanging Kemp for Gonzalez and then swapping Gonzalez for Kemp, runs just haven’t come easy and something with the lineup has to be changed. Maybe its time to try Kemp in the lead off role for a few games?
In an impressive first inning against Trevor Cahill, the Dodgers managed to squeak out 2 runs on 2 hits and a hit batter. Gonzalez finally came thru for 2 run double to right. I could end this post right now and that should be enough to tell you that the Dodgers lost in anti-climactic fashion. And that’s basically what they did.
The D’Backs got their first run in the second when Paul Goldschmidt singled to right on an easy looking slider from Harang, stole second when Harang presumably forgot to keep an eye on the d’backs leading base stealer (I know, it sounds weird), then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Justin Upton sac fly.
Its difficult to be too hard on the boys, particularly Victorino. His struggles at the plate, along with Gonzalez, Kemp, and Hanley, are pretty well documented. But at least we can say defensively he is displaying what made him a gold glove winner. To end the second inning, on a difficult play to left, Victorino made a nice catch while crashing into the wall and then was able to double up Montero at first to end the rally. Because against the Dodgers, one run is a rally.
I suppose it was a little promising to see Harang pitch effectively until he got two outs in the 6th. Then the wheels fell off for him. Despite only throwing 78 pitches, he started missing his curve ball low and his fastball high. Consecutive walks to Goldschmidt and then Montero led to the inevitable down the middle meatball to Upton, who promptly stroked it to left for a single.
And here was the difference in the game: Montero makes the turn to head to third after Upton’s single, and Cruz decides to let the ball go and not cut it off when he had Montero dead in his sights at third base! If Cruz cuts that ball off, were out of the inning having only given up the one run and the lead and go to the top of the 7th in a tie game. Instead, Cruz lets the wide throw go to home, Goldschmidt scores easily, and Montero scampers into third without a throw. Choate then comes in for Harang to face Gerardo Parra and gives up his 15th single in 91 at bats against lefties, to drive in Montero. Tolleson then comes in the game to finish the 7th by striking out McDonald on 6 straight sliders.
Jamey Wright finished an easy 7th in order and Belisario finished the 8th in order. With the exception of 2 (two) Luis Cruz singles, the Dodgers were held hit-less after the first inning. It’s safe to assume that they ran into good pitching today, but we know better. Charles Nagy (D’Backs pitching coach) could have been throwing out there and even he would have held the Dodgers bats at bay.
Charlie Steiner reminded us tonight of the Dodgers schedule as the season comes to a close. According to win-loss records, the Dodgers have the hardest remaining schedule in baseball. If you remember the beginning of the season, part of the reason why the Dodgers were so good, (aside from having a healthy Kemp) was that they had the easiest schedule in the game. And we all happily agreed while they took the wins to the bank. Now that the schedule is not only harder, but the games definitely mean more, the pressure of losing becomes the snowball that melts the Dodgers season.
Maybe Don Mattingly had Phantom Practice to emulate the Phantom baseball the team is playing in games.