Dodgers Lineup vs. GiantsM.Ellis 4 Ethier 9 Kemp 8 Gonzalez 3 Ramirez 6 Victorino 7 Cruz 5 Federowicz 2 Kershaw 1
Well guys, we have reached the final game of the season. This will be our last pregame in 2012. It’s a sad day as the Dodgers were eliminated from postseason contention last night after a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss to the Giants. I’m still not over it. Nobody really is yet. It’s starting to sink in, and it’s going to take a while for the pain to stop hurting. Well, I guess we have all winter long to lick our wounds. The Dodgers came into the game last night with a chance of doing something special. After winning six games in a row when everyone thought the team was dead was spectacular enough. However after finding out that the Reds had beaten the Cardinals 3-1 in St. Louis, behind several ex-Dodgers? That meant that the Dodgers who were two games back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card race, had to just win their game against the Giants to close the gap to just one game with the last game to be played the following day. They would have had Kershaw on the mound with a chance to send the Cardinals to a one game tiebreaker to be played at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. But because of poor hitting, bad base-running, incompetent managing, and overall poor Baseball fundamentals, the Dodgers will be playing golf while other teams will be playing in the playoffs.
For our hated rivals the Giants, who had already clinched the NL West division title over a week ago, were looking to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs, and got their wish. I’m sure Hank Schulman is in pleasure town right now, and doing some stupid robot dance.
I’ll replay that seventh inning over and over in my head all winter long. The Dodgers were down 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Zito had hit Andre Ethier with a pitch, and was removed for former Dodger Guillermo Mota. A.J. Ellis followed with a two-run home run over the center field wall just out of reach of the leaping Angel Pagan. The man, the myth, the legend of A.J. Ellis had given us new life. Dodger Stadium exploded after the Dodgers closed the gap to 4-3. Then came the stupid. After Nick Punto struck out while pinch-hitting, Mark Ellis smacked a base hit into the gap. All M.Ellis had to do was just stay at second base. But noooooo he just couldn’t do that could he? M.Ellis tried to stretch his double into a triple, and was thrown out at third base. Some people had said that Tim Wallach was waiving him into third, but I couldn’t see Wallach during the play. I don’t think that was the case. M.Ellis just got greedy. It was a very stupid play, surprisingly from a veteran player.
Then immediately afterwards, Shane Victorino followed with a triple down into the right field corner. Of course if M.Ellis had still been on second base, he would have scored easily on the Victorino triple. Next up was Matt Kemp. As the Ravine roared to life, Bison flailed at a low and away breaking ball, ending the inning for the Dodgers. Kemp slammed his bat down in frustration. It was his last at-bat of the year. Fitting end for a frustrating season for our Bison.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, Don Mattingly was still bunting. It’s almost hard to believe. After Ethier singled off of Jeremy Affeldt. Then in comes Sergio Romo from the Giant’s bullpen. Mattingly then infuriatingly orders AJ to bunt with pinch-runner Dee Gordon at first base. I couldn’t believe it. AJ had just homered like three innings prior, and Mattingly was taking the bat out of his hands. Of course it didn’t work. Bunting rarely ever does. AJ got two strikes on him, falling behind in the count because of the missed bunt attempts. Then he whiffed for the first out. AJ isn’t a bunter, and was our best chance to get a hit in that situation. Mattingly is so stubborn, he’ll literally go down bunting to the end. After pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu flew out to left. Gordon finally ordered to steal second, which he does by a hare. Finally, M.Ellis up with two outs and a chance to make amends for his Tootblan, flies out to center, and that was it. Season over.
The Dodgers just can’t keep making so many mistakes and expect to win. It’s just bad fundamental Baseball. The Giants on the other hand are a very sound fundamental team with a good manager. It’s no surprise they beat us this year.
What concerns me is the excuses and backwards rationalizations made by Don Mattingly and others. The only guy who made no excuses and took responsibility was Matt Kemp. After sitting alone in the dugout for a while, Bison finally admitted he had failed. “I didn’t do my job” Kemp said, “I kind of failed I guess”.
What Don Mattingly had to say was disconcerting. According to the LA Times, he said that the players should use this loss as motivation for next season. He said they never want to feel like this again. That’s kind of a messed up thing to say in that situation. That kind of talk doesn’t inspire confidence. The thing is Mattingly is spot on accurate there. It’s true that the players will use this awful experience towards next season’s plight, but is that the right thing to say at that moment? It wasn’t very politically correct.
What really scares me is Mattingly’s refusal to admit when he is wrong. He was asked about his intentional walk of Angel Pagan during the fifth inning when the Giants scored the two decisive runs to take a 4-1 lead. With a runner at second base and two outs, Mattingly chose to walk Angel Pagan, and pitch to the red-hot hitting Marco Scutaro. The guy was hitting over .400 with runners in scoring position for the Giants, and was hitting something like over .350 over since the all-star break. Naturally he doubled down the line driving in both runners. So why did Mattingly walk Pagan to pitch to Scutaro? The answer was because Scutaro was 2 for 19 against Dodger pitcher Jamey Wright. A match-up. He went with a stupid match-up. Not even a recent match-up, but 19 meaningless at-bats decided the Dodger fate. Mattingly not only made no concessions of his error, but said that that was a mistake that he would make every time. It’s unreal, he makes a huge glaring mistake, then instead of accepting responsibility, says he’ll do the same thing again. It’s just infuriating. I want to like the guy, and I do, but yeesh that’s unacceptable. He needs to admit his mistakes, and then learn from them and stop making them over and over again. It’s also the manager’s job to create a winning atmosphere for the players, and instill confidence into the team. Don Mattingly has yet to do this.
What made the game even more painful was being knocked out by the Giants. I mean they had already beaten us for the division weeks ago. Actually the Dodgers beat themselves weeks ago, but I digress. After the game, Angel Pagan did some stupid choke signal while walking back to the dugout, Sergio Romo screamed and celebrated like they and just won the world series. Get over it Giants, you didn’t win anything. You just knocked out a struggling team that was fighting to stay in the playoff race. I still can’t believe how lucky the Giants are. They keep striking gold with these mediocre players they pick up off the waiver wire. I mean Marco Scutaro? Come on. What a bunch of horse crap.
Anyways, that’s all I have to say about that. Of course Chris Capuano hurting his shoulder while swinging a bat with donuts on it before the game was silly stupid. What else can you say?
Normally We provide you with the pre-game stories, and past pitching match-ups, but not today. This is the final game of the 2012 season, and it’s meaningless. Sorry guys, but there will be no match-ups today. All I will say is the Giants will be pitching Ryan Vogelsong, and the Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw. Vogelsong’s start is just a tune-up for the playoffs, while Kershaw will take the mound for the final time this season as he tries to pad his Cy Young numbers. Kershaw could win another one, and he should end the season leading the league in strikeouts, ERA, and innings pitched. Kershaw is 13-9 with a 2.58 ERA, and 221 whiffs.
So what is there to look forward to for this last game? Well the first thing is it’s our last chance to listen to Vin Scully’s beautiful voice for five months. That’s reason enough to watch this game. The second reason is we need to turn our attention on trying to screw the Giants as much as possible before the playoffs start. How do we do that with only one game remaining? It’s simple,we burn through their bullpen with a lengthy extra inning game. I say let Kershaw pitch and toss some zeroes while the offense should just concentrate on keeping the game tied up as long as possible. I say screw it! Let Juan Uribe bat four times, let Punto play. Let Juan Rivera bat. It’s the final game. Why not? Let’s keep the game scoreless or tied for as long as possible, and burn through the Giant’s bullpen. Let’s make them suffer before they head into the playoffs. There is a lot of consternation about using Kershaw in this meaningless game though. The doctors did say that Kershaw can’t damage his hi any further, and if Kershaw isn’t in any pain, then I don’t see a problem with it.
The Dodger’s recent six game winning streak this last week was a refreshing joy. The hot streak made watching Dodger Baseball fun again. It reminded us of earlier in the season when the team was pulling wins out of magic hats every night, and anything was possible. Unfortunately injuries, and poor hitting cost them the season. Still regardless, the Dodgers should be commended for a great effort this year. It’s too bad they don’t give out rewards for coming in second place. This isn’t horse shoes. This is Baseball, and the Dodgers didn’t make the playoffs this year for the third year in a row. It’s unacceptable. It’s disappointing and sad. It hurts. It’s going to hurt all winter long.
I love the Dodgers and will always bleed Dodger Blue. We know what we need to improve upon for next season. We need to keep everyone healthy. We need better hitting, especially with runners in scoring position, and of course we need to stop the bunting! We’ll have plenty of time to reflect back upon the 2012 season. We’ll be doing our season in review soon. But for now, let’s finish the season on a good note with a win.
It’s been quite a ride this season, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. What is the old saying about Baseball leaving you in the winter all alone? Forget it, because you guys are never alone. That’s because Stacie, Myself and everyone over here at Lasorda’s Lair, Nick, Dustin, and Nicole will always be here for you guys. We’ll be here all throughout the winter. Again, I want to thank all of our readers for following along, reading our site, and being part of the season with us. We really thank you from the bottom of our Blue hearts.
With that I will leave you guys with an uplifting video. The Dodger’s future is bright indeed for 2013. I can’t wait until next year. As in grand tradition, I’ll leave you guys with a video from the band Ozomatli. The song is called “Can’t Stop the Blue” It’s fitting here, because while the Dodger’s may have come up just a tad short this season, most times, you just can’t stop the blue. Remember game time is 4:15 on Prime Ticket. Go Blue! For the final time in 2012.
YOU CANT STOP THE BLUE! GO DODGERS GO!
Ozomatli, “Can’t Stop the Blue