Sep 7, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig (66) walks back to the dugout after striking in the top of the 10th inning of the Dodgers 3-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers Swept In Cincy After Another Tough One Run Loss

Dodgers 2  6  0
Reds       3  6  1
WP-Chapman-4-5
LP-Belisario-5-7
HR-Bruce-28-29-Hanley-17
 

I guess I’ll do this recap a bit differently than I normally do. If only because I have very little good things to say at this point. The Dodgers have lost four in a row and were swept by the Reds with a 3-2 loss, on another walk-off hit. This one in the ninth inning from Ryan Hanigan off of a Belisario fastball up in the zone. That’s three straight one-run losses in the three game series. The Dodgers looked listless and tired, and again, the offense was nowhere to be found, consistently giving away at-bats with poor plate approaches.

Clayton Kershaw pitched well, despite not having his best stuff early on. Kershaw pitched seven frames, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked three and whiffed seven. Kershaw didn’t seem like himself when he allowed a lead-off walk to Shin-Soo Choo, but recovered to pick-off Choo, and then retired the next two hitters to get out of the inning. But his troubles continued in the second inning, when he allowed a booming solo home run to Jay Bruce. The left handed slugger would add one more solo shot in the fourth off of Kershaw which put the Reds up 2-1.

Opposing starter Homer Bailey showed why he is now a big game pitcher with a dominant performance. The right hander who has pitched two no-hitters before limited the Dodgers to two runs on six hits across seven innings. He walked none and struck out nine Dodgers. If we have to face Bailey in the playoffs we might be in for some trouble.

The Dodger’s offense took a big steamy dump again, with routine out after routine out. Mix in some awful base running and a key double play that killed another rally, and you have a team that mustered only two runs on six hits.

After the first Bruce homer, the Dodgers tied it up in the fourth inning. With two outs, Adrian Gonzalez singled, and Hanley Ramirez’s double scored him, but Hanley strayed too far off of second base and was tagged out between second and third. A very costly base running blunder.

The Dodgers wasted another potential rally in the top of the sixth. Carl Crawford doubled inside the left field corner, and Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch. Gonzo then immediately grounded into an inning ending double play, and the rally was squelched.

The Dodgers tied it up in the top of the seventh, when Hanley bombed a solo home run off of Bailey. Hanley’s 17th home run ties the game at 2-2. The game became a bullpen war after that. The Dodger’s have a tired bullpen, and my god why is Ronald Belisario so awful again? Can anyone tell me?

There was one guy in the Dodger bullpen with a fresh arm, who performed spectacularly. The mustached marauder Chris Withrow pitched a scoreless frame, whiffing two. He looked bad ass again. He’s going to be a huge weapon come October.

Withrow pitched the eighth, and then for some reason, Don Mattingly did not let him come out for the ninth, instead it was Belisario for the hundredth time. That did not work out. After Todd Frazier popped out, Zack Cozart singled to center. Ryan Hanigan’s line drive double down the line scored Cozart. That was it. Crawford’s weak throw wasn’t even close. The Dodgers lose 3-2, and are swept by the Reds.

The positives

The Dodgers lost the battle against the Reds, but haven’t lost the war. They’re still in a great position being 11 games ahead with a magic number of 10 to clinch the west.

The Dodgers are 83-59, and 24 games above .500.

The Dodger’s magic number to clinch the west is 10

Remember, The Mets beat the Dodgers in the 1988 regular season 10 out of 11 times.

Chris Withrow looked great, coming into pitch another dominant inning, in the bottom of the eighth. He recorded two more whiffs, and is effectively changing speeds, using a great curve, and mixing in his mid to upper 90’s heaters. The mustached reliever can be a very effective secret weapon in the playoffs.

Clayton Kershaw’s ERA is still well below two, at 1.92. He did not get the loss in this game, and remains 14-8 on the season.

The Dodgers are coming home for a seven game home stand against two teams of lesser quality.

 

The bad stuff

The Dodger’s offense continues to let the team down. They’re just not scoring enough runs to win ball games. They only managed two runs on six hits tonight, and seem to be listless at the plate.

The poor plate approaches are accounting for all of the routine outs they hit into. Falling behind in counts, and swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.

Ronald Belisario is leaving pitches up in the zone again, making him awful.

Paco is tired.

Chris Capuano’s strained groin means more Edinson Volquez.

 

I don’t know what else to say. The team has to find some way to break out of this offensive malaise they seem to be stuck in. How do they do that? I have no idea right now. I think they’re just tired. The Dbacks lost again tonight in San Francisco, so the lead remains at 11 games. The Dodgers have plenty of time to right the ship before the playoffs start. We don’t want to see the team limping into the postseason. There is no reason to panic, but there is reason for concern. I’m most concerned about the hapless offense. The team’s lack of base running skills is also hurting them. A little bit of speed couldn’t hurt.

The Dodgers come home to lick their wounds and begin a seven game home stand. They’ll kick it off with a four game series against the slumping second place Snakes. Tomorrow night Randall Delgado will counter Ricky Nolasco. Maybe the bats can finally wake up? Let’s hope so.

Tags: A.J. Ellis Adrian Gonzalez Andre Ethier Carl Crawford Clayton Kershaw Don Mattingly Hanley Ramirez Juan Uribe Los Angeles Dodgers Mark Ellis Yasiel Puig

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