The Dodgers witnessed first hand what could have been this season. After a rousing extra inning victory last night, the Dodgers came out flat yet again. Matt Latos showed he has regianed his form and shut down the pathetic Dodger Lineup easily. The Red’s offense backed Latos with six runs, and two home runs, and the Reds beat the Dodgers 6-0 to clinch the NL Central title. While the Reds were busy celebrating, the Dodgers I hope were taking notes. This is what a real playoff team looks like. And this is what a real division clinching celebration looks like. The Dodgers watched knowing that maybe they can have a celebration like this next season, if they could only move a man past second base. Oh by the way, that’s something they couldn’t do today. The offense could only muster up six measly piddly singles. Talk about a team full of punch and Judy hitters. The Reds on the other hands, actually brought their bats. The big blasts came off of the bats of Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips. The Dodgers couldn’t score if there were home plates put in front of the front doors of their houses.
The Reds would have to celebrate without their skipper, former Dodger Dusty Baker. He was still recovering from an irregular heart beat. He is expected back for Sunday’s game.
Stephen Fife pitched well, but it was ultimately meaningless because the offense keeps stinking it up. Fife only allowed two runs through five and whiffed four. I think he pitches a lot better than people give him credit for. Matt Latos pitched eight shutout innings allowing only six singles. He whiffed seven, and didn’t walk anyone to pick up win number 13 on the season. The Dodgers (78-74) fall back to three games behind the Cardinals who beat the Cubs earlier in Chicago. Milwaukee lost as well, and they drop to two and a half back. What makes this even more ridiculous is all of the former Dodgers the Reds have on the team that are performing well. Meltdown king Jonathon Broxton, cast-off outfielder Xavier Paul, and catcher Dioner Navarro. Also manager Dusty Baker is a former Dodger player himself.
Mark Ellis starts the game with a fly out to the right field corner. Andre Ethier whiffs for the second out. Matt Kemp whiffs as well. Matt Latos fans two in the first inning. Rookie Stephen Fife takes the hill in the bottom of the first. Brandon Phillips flies out to Kemp. After former Dodger Xavier Paul, also known as X-man walks. Fife uncorks a wild pitch which allows X-man to take second. Joey Votto appears to whiff, but the home plate umpire calls it a foul boul. Don Mattingly runs out to dispute the call. The umpires confer, and eventually change their call back. It is indeed a whiff of Votto. Todd Frazier sends a long fly to deep center, but Kemp catches it on the warning track to end the first inning. No score.
Adrian Gonzalez opens up the second inning with a single to center. Hanley Ramirez grounds into a force out, Gonzalez is cut down at second. Juan Rivera grounds to third. Fife whiffs Jay Bruce for the first out of the bottom of the second. Chris Heisey is hit by a pitch. Former Dodger catcher Dioner Navarro, known to us as Pudjito, flies out to left. Zack Cozart singles through the hole into left. Fife spears a Matt Latos line drive come-backer, and the Dodgers end second inning unscathed. Fife has Fife like reflexes.
Top of the third. A.J. Ellis grounds out to third. Fife grounds out. M.Ellis singles. Ethier whiffs. Still no score. A lead-off single to left from Phillips in the bottom of the third. X-man grounds into a force out. Fife whiffs Votto on a nice Breaking ball for the second out. Frazier sends a long drive to deep right field, and Ethier makes a great leaping catch against the wall to rob Frazier of a home run. We’re still scoreless after three.
Matt Latos easily retire the Dodgers in order in the top of the fourth. Gonzalez and Hanley both whiff. Jay Bruce hits a monstrous home run to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Fife gets through the rest of the frame without giving up me damage. Navarro grounds out, and Cozart whiffs. Luis Cruz singles to lead-off the top of the fifth. As usual Juan Rivera immediately grounds into a double play. AJ grounds out.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Phillips walks. X-man pops out. Votto singles to left. The Dodgers have a meeting on the mound. Frazier’s ground ball single into left scores Phillips, but Frazier is tagged out in a rundown between first and second. 2-0 Reds, after five frames.
The Dodgers continue to stink it up on offense in the top of the sixth. Dee Gordon makes an appearance, pinch-hitting for Fife. Dee grounds out back to the box. A meaningless Ethier single is all the Dodgers can muster off of Latos in the sixth. Paco Rodriguez takes over for Fife and pitches a 123 bottom of the sixth. Bruce pops out. Heisey grounds out. Navarro whiffs. Fife leaves after pitching through five innings. He allowed two runs, on five hits. He walked two and whiffed four.
The Dodgers ohfer away another frame in the top of the seventh. Cruz singles, but that is all. Matt “give it away” Guerrier comes in and serves up another homer, a monster shot to Phillips. The Reds take a 3-0 lead. With two outs, Guerrier walks X-man. Mattingly hooks Guerrier and gives Randy Choate his daily appearance. Choate retires Votto on a ground out to finally end the bottom of the seventh.
Latos retires the Dodgers in the top of the eighth. The reds score three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Jamey Wright is left in and couldn’t retire a single batter he faced, and he made a throwing error. There was a Frazier double, a Bruce walk. Heisey tries to sacrifice the runners to second and third, and Wright throws the ball into right field to allow another run to score. The Dodgers hilariously intentionally walk Navarro to load the bases with none out. There is a two-run single from Cozart. The Dodgers finally hook Wright, and have to bring in Josh Wall to get out of the inning.
Move to the Bottom of the ninth with the Reds now leading 6-0. Aroldis Chapman, the guy that throws 100 mph is called in to clinch it for the Reds. He had been out with injury. Kemp grounds out. Gonzalez walks. Hanley grounds into a game ending double play. The Reds clinch the NL Central and begin their celebration, and the Dodgers pathetically limp back to the clubhouse with their tails between their legs.
The Dodgers are considering pitching Kershaw tomorrow, but if they don’t then Aaron Harang will take the mound on three days rest. Yikes. The Reds will counter with Homer Bailey. Dustin will bring the postgame coverage tomorrow, and remember the game has been moved to 5PM and will be televised on ESPN. After the game the Dodgers will be off on Monday, and then conclude the final road trip with three games in San Diego. Join us tomorrow as the Dodgers look for a series win in the rubber game.
Topics: A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Don Mattingly, Dusty Baker, Elian Herrera, Hanley Ramirez, Jamey Wright, Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Cruz, Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Paco Rodriguez, Randy Choate, Shane Victorino, Stephen Fife