Well we got to see some more fireworks in Denver on the fourth of July, only they weren’t the fireworks we were hoping for. The Dodgers had won four in a row, and were looking for their fifth straight victory, and a sweep of Colorado. Unfortunately Chris Capuano started this game. Honestly, Capuano should never ever be allowed to pitch in Denver ever again. But what can you do right? I apologize for the scathing sarcasm, but after this recent hot streak, I have an even bigger aversion to losing then before. The winning has spoiled me.
Yasiel Puig was cleared to play after injuring his leg crashing into the Coors Field wall last night. He had a bruised and tight leg, but was in the lineup. Puig went 1 for 5 with an RBI single, and is now batting .430 on the year.
Capuano was predictably terrible, as he allowed six runs on seven hits through 4.1 innings, while whiffing three and walking one. Capuano was removed with one out in the bottom of the fifth. For some reason that I can’t explain, Don Mattingly brought in the worst pitcher in the major…well, you know, he brought in League, and well you know by now that League should never ever be put into a major league Baseball game. Even a ten run lead isn’t safe to bring him into. I understand that the Dodgers refuse to cut ties with league, and therefore he has pitch at some point, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to basically punt a game away. But that’s just what Mattingly did, when bringing in League in the fifth. Of course, League faced four batters, and allowed a walk and two singles. By that point the Dodgers were already down 5-2 when League replaced Capuano.
The Dodgers were unable to hit junk-ball thrower Jhoulys Chacin, although his overall line wasn’t that much better than Capuano’s. Chacin allowed four runs on nine hits through 5.2 innings. But it was good enough for the win, because League pitched.
Bringing in League was the difference in the game. I think it’s more poor managing from Mattingly to constantly put the needs of one player ahead of the rest of the team. Sorry I had to quote Spock there, but you get the picture.
Colorado had gone up early in the first with an RBI double from Cargo, who had to leave the game later with reported back problems. The Dodgers did come back to take the lead 2-1 in the top of the second. Andre Ethier singled, and Matt Kemp hit his second home run in as many days. Colorado scored four runs in the third, on an RBI single from Josh Rutledge, a two-run double from Michael Cuddyer, and a Rosario sac fly. Cuddyer would later add a solo home run in the seventh, to give him a 2 for 3 day with three runs driven in.
Colorado then scored three more in the fifth, off of League with RBI singles from Rosario, Helton, and Tyler Colvin. That made the score 8-2 Colorado.
The Dodgers left a bases loaded situation in the third, when Gonzalez was too slow to score on Kemp’s single, which eventually led to the bases being loaded, and the Dodgers being unable to score anyone. Sigh. The Dodgers again left hundreds of men on base, and were 2 for 10 with RISP. On the other foot, Colorado was 6 for 12. The Dodgers did make some noise in the top of the ninth, off of Rafael Betancourt. Gonzo homered, and Hanley singled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Gonzalez had a four hit game, so there’s that. The Dodgers lost 9-5.
Here’s how the game played out. The Dodgers have only lost two games over the last two weeks, and Capuano has started both of those losses.
Chacin makes quick work of the Dodgers in the top of the first. Mark Ellis a one-hopper to third. Yasiel Puig flies out to left. Adrian Gonzalez dumps a single into right, but Hanley Ramirez’s force play grounder ends the frame.
I just hate first inning runs allowed. Of course Capuano serves one up right away. It’s always the very first hitter that gets on, and of course DJ LeMahieu doubles over Kemp’s head. Josh Rutledge’s sacrifice bunt moves LeMahieu over to second. Cargo’s double to right scores LeMahieu and it’s 1-0 Colorado. Capuano does settle down though. He whiffs Michael Cuddyer and gets Wilin Rosario to ground out.
The Dodgers take the lead in the top of the second. Andre Ethier leads off with a single, and then scores when Matt Kemp blasts his fourth home run to left center field. That’s Kemp’s second homer in as many days, and it gives the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Is Kemp finally breaking out his season long slump? Tim Federowicz and Nick Punto follow with consecutive singles, and Capuano’s bunt attempt goes awry as Colorado nails the lead runner at third. (Fedex). Then Mark Ellis, and Puig both whiff, ending the inning.
Capuano recovers to toss a 123 top of the second. Helton grounds out to short. Arenado flies out to left, and Tyler Colvin grounds to first. The score is still 2-1 Dodgers.
The Dodgers load the bases in the top of the third but are unable to score due to Gonzo’s extreme slowness. Gonzo singled to start the inning. Hanley draws a walk, which puts Gonzo at second. Ethier’s line out is the first out. Kemp singles into left, but Gonzo has to stop at third. Now with the bases loaded, and a 2-0 count on Fedex, wild pitch to the backstop can’t even score Gonzo. He’s just too dam slow. Then Fedex pops out, and Punto whiffs. Punto understandably upset, slams his helmet on the ground.
Capuano falls apart in the bottom of the third, as Colorado scores four unanswered runs. Consecutive singles from Chacin, LeMahieu, and Rutledge plates a run for Colorado, with Chacin’s hit a blooper down the line in right. Cargo’s fielder choice grounder to third confuses LeMahieu and the Dodgers tag him out in a rundown between third and home. The Tootblan is the first out. Cuddyer’s double over Kemp;s head in center scores two more runs, to give Colorado a 4-2 lead. Rosario’s sac fly plates Cuddyer, and Colorado goes up by a score of 5-2.
After both pitchers exchange scoreless fourth innings, Chacin retires the Dodgers in the top of the fifth, and we go to the bottom of the fifth. This is the frame where the Dodges try to punt away the game. Colorado scores three more runs, as Capuano is knocked out of the game.
Rutledge a lead-off double. Cargo whiffs, and then out comes Mattingly to make a pitching change. inexplicably, he brings in Brandon League. Of course we all know what happens next don’t we? Yes, runs are served like hot cakes for dinner. Cuddyer walks, Rosario and Helton with consecutive RBI singles gives Colorado a 7-2 lead. J.P. Howell comes in and allows an RBI single to Colvin, before getting Chacin to fly out to finally end this horrendous frame. It’s 8-2 Colorado.
The Dodgers fight back for two runs in the top of the sixth, which ends up being Chacin’s final frame. Punto walks. Schumaker’s grounder is a force, Punto is safe at second. After M.Ellis’s line out allows Punto to tag up to third, Puig’s RBI single scores Punto easily making the score 8-3. Colorado removes Chacin, and brings in Josh Outman. Gonzalez doubles off the wall in left to score Puig, and the Dodgers are now down by four runs, 8-4 the score.
Chris Withrow comes in to toss a scoreless bottom of the sixth. He whiffs Rutledge and pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson. Dickerson takes over in left field for Cargo, who may have injured himself the previous inning. Colorado uses Outman, and Edgmer Escalona to pitch a scoreless top of the seventh. Withrow serves up a solo shot to Cuddyer in the bottom of the seventh, and the score is 9-4 Colorado.
Move to the top of the ninth. And we see Rafael Betancourt come in to shut the door for Colorado. Gonzalez homers, and Hanley singles to extend his hit streak to 15 games. But that’s all they would get. Ethier, Kemp and Fedex all fly out, and the Dodgers fall in the series finale, by a score of 9-5.
Oh well, I guess you can’t win them all, but the Dodgers COULD have won this game had Mattingly not placed the needs of one lousy reliever ahead of the needs of the entire team. Perhaps Mattingly should go and rent Star Trek 2 the wrath of Khan, and actually learn something. Knowing him, he’ll just keep using League in critical game situations.
Alright, I’m outy 5,000. This game was atrocious. The Dodgers fall to 40-44, and since Arizona beat the Mets, the Dodgers get knocked back down to third place, and fall to 3.5 games back.