The Dodgers blew another game that they had easily in the bag. With a 3-1 lead after six innings, the Dodger bumpen was unable to hold a simple two-run lead. Even worse, Don Mattingly failed to intentionally walk David Wright in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, the tying run at third, and first base open. Wright predictably singled in the tying run off of closer Brandon League. The Mets then easily won the game in the bottom of the tenth against Josh Wall, who couldn’t find the strike zone if it was painted across his chest. After Wall failed to retire a single batter in the tenth, sacrifice bunt not withstanding, Jordany Valdespin hit a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the tenth, and the Mets beat the Dodgers 7-3 in extra frames.
Tonight’s pitching match-up pitted the veteran lefty Ted Lilly in his season Dodger debut, against super prospect Matt Harvey. While Lilly was coming off the disabled list, the Dodgers got their first look at Harvey who has gotten off to a fantastic start. The match-up was a classic duel between the crafty veteran, against the young flamethrower. If ever there were two pitchers with totally different styles of pitching it’s Lilly and Harvey. You have the young fireballer who throws the heat, and then you have the wily veteran who has to use every trick in the book to get you out. I think Lilly would throw the kitchen sink at you if he could. On paper this was a miss-match. Thank goodness the games are played on the field and not on paper, because it was the crotchety veteran taking the kid to school. Matt Harvey appeared to be Harvey dent to the Dodger offense, but eventually was anything but. The old man almost ended up beating the phenom. It was Baseball at it’s finest.
The Dodgers eeked out a run off of Harvey in the top of the first. Consecutive singles from M.Ellis and Gonzo would put runners at first and third. Kemp would knock in the first of his three runs on the day with an RBI grounder, to give the Dodgers an early lead. The Mets eventually tied it in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of three singles, and a walk. Ruben Tejada’s run scoring dribbler plated the tying run.
For the next four frames, Harvey was very impressive. He held the Dodgers scoreless allowing just one hit, until the top of the sixth. But Lilly matched the kid zero for zero. The game was still tied at 1-1 until the Dodgers finally got to Harvey. Gonzo drew a two-out walk, and Matt Kemp hit his first home run of season, a laser shot that just got over the corner right field wall, to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. The home run had to be reviewed, but was ruled correctly as a home run.
The game was all downhill after that. The bullpen of course couldn’t hold a two-run lead. The Mets scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, and then tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Mattingly made another costly blunder by not walking David Wright with the tying run at third and two outs. Yes the Dodgers blew the game with two outs in the ninth. Sound familiar? Then the Mets won it in the bottom of the tenth, off of Valdepsin’s slam.
The Dodgers scored first off of super prospect Matt Harvey in the top of the first. After Schumaker leads off the game by grounding out, Mark Ellis slaps a single into right center field. Mark Ellis is red hot right now, that’s five hits in his last six at-bats. Adrian Gonzalez follows with a single through the hole into right. M.Ellis goes to third as Marlon Byrd bobbles the ball. Matt Kemp batting cleanup tonight, knocks in M.Ellis with a broken bat RBI fielder’s choice grounder. The Mets erase Gonzo at second, but Kemp is safe at first. M.Ellis scores the run, and the Dodgers lead it 1-0.
Ted Lilly however has no problems retiring the Mets in order in the bottom of the first. Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright are all retired with ease.
Harvey settles down to put away the Dodgers in order in the top of the second. The frame includes a Nick Punto whiff, in which he looked totally befuddled on a nasty Harvey breaking ball. Lilly begins the bottom of the second by whiffing John Buck. But big Ike Davis singles down the third base line. Lilly recovers to whiff Marlon Byrd like a frozen pizza. But then Lucas Duda single to right, sending Davis to third. Of course Lilly walks rookie Juan Lagares to load the bases for opposing starter Harvey. Lilly finally is able to tightrope his way out of the jam by getting Harvey to ground back to the box.
Moving to the bottom of the third with the Dodgers still leading 1-0. Lilly whiffs Tejada for his third whiff of the night. Retires Murphy, but then misses and walks Wright. Wright steals second base, but Lilly whiffs Buck to end the threat.
The Dodgers waste Ethier’s two-out single in the top of the fourth. Harvey had retired Gonzo, and then whiffed Kemp preceding Dre’s hit. There is a wild pitch that sends Ethier to second. But Jhair grounds out and that’s that. Hairston makes a spectacular catch of Ike Davis’s line drive in the bottom of the fourth. Hairston had to go up the ladder to make the catch, robbing Davis of an extra base-hit. Lilly whiffs Byrd again. Duda however doubles over Ethier’s head and off the wall. That makes Jhair’s leaping grab play huge. Lilly escapes again, by getting Lagares to ground back to the box. Can the old man keep this up?
The Mets tie it up at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, but Lilly does a good job at limiting the damage. The Mets use three consecutive hits to plate the tying run. Harvey doubles off the wall in left, and Tejada follows with a dribbler single down the right field line to score Harvey. Murphy also singles, advancing Tejada to second. Then there is some kind of weird delay because the bullpen phones in the Dodger dugout weren’t working. Time to resort to smoke signals, or maybe someone could just use a cell phone? Anyways, after the short delay, Lilly whiffs Wright for the first out. Buck grounds into a force, and Davis whiffs to end the frame. Lilly somehow escapes another jam.
The Dodgers retake the lead in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Gonzalez walks. Kemp smacks a line drive shot into the right field corner that appears to go over the wall, but bounces back into play. Credit to Kemp who doesn’t wait around and runs all the way to third, with Gonzo apparently scoring. Mattingly asks the umpires for a replay. After the review, the umpires correctly rule a home run for Kemp. The ball had landed over the wall, as the ball bounced out of the hands of some random security guards hands who was sitting behind the wall. The two-run home run for Bison is his first of the season and gives the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
The Dodgers remove Lilly in the bottom of the sixth. Lilly pitched better than we could have ever expected. The veteran lefty goes five frames, allowing one run, six hits, walked one, and whiffed seven. J.P. Howell enters the game and promptly walks Byrd and Duda. Lagares’s grounder could have been a double play, but Howell deflects the ball, and the Dodger infield can only get the out at fist. The runners advance to second and third. Mattingly makes a double switch, bringing in Ronald Belisario to pitch, and Carl Crawford in to replace Schumaker in left. Justin Turner’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly slices the Dodger lead to 3-2. Belisario finally ends the inning by getting Tejada to ground out.
Right hander Latroy Hawkins replaces Harvey in the top of the seventh. Harvey leaves losing 3-2. He allowed three runs through six and whiffed seven. Move to the bottom of the seventh. Belisario out for a second inning of work. He disposes of the Mets quickly in this frame. This includes whiffs of Murphy and Buck.
Old friend and former Dodger Scott Rice pitches a scoreless top of the eighth. Kenley Jansen comes in to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He starst the frame by whiffing Davis, but then gets into trouble. Byrd’s double off the wall in left puts the tying run on base, and the go-ahead run at the plate. Duda hit a grounder that looked destined to go through the right side of the infield, but Mark Ellis makes an amazing diving stop to get the out at first. Great play! The play saved a run from scoring, but Byrd goes to third. Valdespin’s slow roller to first ends the frame, and preserves the Dodger 3-2 lead.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Enter Brandon League to close shop. But he does anything but. Mike Baxter doubles off Crawford’s glove in left. Tejada sacrifices Baxtor to third, and that brings up Murphy followed by Wright. Murphy hits a high foul pop towards the third base stands. Jhair rushes over and reaches over the seats to make a great catch, to momentarily preserve the lead.
Then Mattingly makes his fatal mistake. With first base open he chooses to let League pitch to Wright, and well do I even need to tell you what happens next? Wright a line drive single to right scores the tying run, and the game is blown. The Dodgers do get out of the inning when A.J. throws out Wright trying to steal.
Bobby Parnell pitches a scoreless top of the tenth. AJ walks, but is stranded when Crawford whiffs, and Schumaker grounds out.
Move to the bottom of the tenth. The Dodgers have already burned through the entire bullpen, so they have to bring in Josh Wall, who constantly wilts under pressure. (Yikes, Sorry Josh I’m being way too hard on you. Emotional response there.)Buck singles. Davis walks. Byrd sacrifices the runners to second and third. The Dodgers intentionally walk Duda to load the bases. Then Valdespin effortlessly hits a Wall meatball for a walk-off grand slam home run. That’s that. Another blown game.
I’m reading on twitter that a lot of people would have still pitched to Wright in the bottom of the ninth. Please explain this to me. Once the Dodgers decided to pitch to Wright, the game was instantly blown. The world knew this to be true. Yes I know Crawford made a poor play on that fly ball, but whatever. It doesn’t matter, you don’t let David Wright beat you. Please someone explain to me how John Buck is more of a threat than David Wright, who is arguably one of the best hitters in the game. Let’s see, John Buck, or David Wright. With the game on the line. Who would you pitch too? Would you still pitch to Wright?
Of course not. It’s just not logical. You can say whatever you want, I don’t care. This game is on Mattingly, and the bullpen. How many times have we seen this? The bullpen just can’t come in and throw strikes, nor can they hold any leads. Add in Don Mattingly’s horrendous bullpen management and in-game decisions, and you have a recipe for disaster.
I’m logging off for now. I’m very annoyed, and disappointed by this display. We’ve seen nothing but mediocre Baseball for almost a month. I’m sick of it.
Join us early tomorrow morning for the rubber game of the three game series. Hyun-jin Ryu will battle noob Jeremy Hefner in a 10 AM start time.