The Dodger’s hopes for a win were violently crushed again by another poor performance from the bullpen. This was another crazy back and forth game in which the Dodgers seemed to have little chance of winning against Fernandez, (who was 12-0 at Marlins Park), but continuously battled back to tie the game several times.
The Dodgers had to bring up spot starter Stephen Fife to replace the injured Hyun-jin Ryu, who had to travel back to Los Angeles to have his shoulder evaluated. Fife was given quite a task, being asked to go up against the wonder kid Jose Fernandez. Both guys pitched well, with Fife matching Fernandez inning by inning.
Fife threw six innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He walked one and whiffed five. Mattingly let him bat in the seventh, and then had to take him out after he was unable to retire anyone in the bottom half of the seventh. He made 105 pitches. meanwhile the Dodgers did get to Fernandez eventually. Fernadnez gave up two earned runs, three total in seven frames. He walked four and whiffed ten. His ERA is still 1.74. He still has yet to be beaten at home. Just tying the game several times almost felt like a win at times. Of course it’s not. Neither pitcher was involved in the decision.
In the end it all came down to who had the better bullpen, which of course the Dodgers don’t. The Marlins took the lead early on three home runs, two of them on two massive shots from Giancarlo Stanton. He hit his first home run in the first with a man aboard to give the Fish a 2-0 lead. His second homer came in the eighth inning, which gave the Fish the lead again. The guy is like a voltron. But dorkface Fife just had to challenge him. Stop pitching to the guy for crying out loud.
The Dodgers battled back for two in the third. Gordon drew a two-out walk, Puig singled him to third, and Hanley’s bloop single plated Gordon to put the Dodgers on the board. Then a passed ball from Saltalamacchia scored Puig to tie the game at 2-2.
Christian Yelich’s home run in the fifth put the Marlins back on top. The Dodgers tie it again with a run in the sixth. Gonzo with another two-out walk for the Dodgers. Kemp singled him to second, and Crawford doubled (later ruled a single and advancement on the throw) home Gonzo to tie the game again.
After Stanton’s homer in the sixth gave the Fish the lead 4-3, the game was decided in the ninth. The Dodgers had to rally in that ninth frame. The Fish didn’t bring in their closer Steve Sichek, instead using A.J. Ramos. Mattingly did some good maneuvering by using Chone Figgins as a pinch-hitter. He walked, and Ethier’s bloop hit gets past Stanton, allowing Figgins to score. The Dodgers tied the game yet again. After Gordon whiffed, and Puig was intentionally walked, the Dodgers had another replay challenge not go their way. Hechavarria made a diving stop on hanley’s grounder up the middle, and flipped to second to appear to beat the sliding Puig by a step. Initial call was safe, but the Fish challenged. The call was overturned and he was ruled out. That killed the rally.
Then Jamey Wright allowed to pitch the bottom of the ninth while Kenley Jansen watched from the bullpen, blew the tie and the game. A single from Hechavarria. A sacrifice from Solano, and a two-out pinch-hit off the wall from Jeff Baker won the game. Puig made a valiant attempt to catch it by diving against the wall. But he came down hard and was slow to get up. The good news is Puig walked off the field under his own power, but looked a bit dazed. Anyways the Dodgers lost 5-4. This time in regulation.
The Dodger bullpen really is a joke. I’m about as ticked off as you are, so here’s the lowlights for the punishment lovers out there…..
So Fernandez easily retires the Dodgers in order in the top f the first. Dee Gordon, and Yasiel Puig are both struck out, and Hanley grounds back to the box. Fernandez stops the ball with this pitching hand, and makes the play himself.
The Fish take the lead in the bottom of the first, thanks to one swing of the bat by Giancarlo Stanton. Christian Yelich grounds out to lead-off the game. Dietrich singles into center. Then Fife just had to be a dorkface and challenge Stanton, and he made him pay with a massive two-run home run to right. 2-0 Fish. Fife does recover to whiff Casey McGehee, and get Saltalamacchia to ground out.
Move to the third frame where the Dodgers would make a two-out rally that would make the young Fernandez cry. After Butera and Fife were retired, Gordon drew a walk. Puig’s ground ball single advances Gordon to third. Hanley’s single into center drives in Gordon, to get the Dodgers on the board. Marcell Ozuna tried to dive for it, but couldn’t make the play. Then with Gonzo at the plate, there’s a passed ball, that allows Puig to race home and score. The Dodgers have tied the game!
Fife throws a scoreless third inning, and caps it off with a whiff of Stanton. Fernandez blanks the Dodgers in the fourth, whiffing Uribe for the third out. Then Fife pitches around a garrett Jones double in the bottom of the fourth. He whiffed Saltalamacchia, and got Ozuna to fly to center.
The Dodgers pegged Fernandez in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t score. Fernandez blows away Butera and Fife. Gordon lines a single off of Fernandez’s leg. With Puig at the plate, Gordon is thrown out stealing. That’s only Gordon’s third caught stealing all year. It’s also the third out of the inning.
Hechavarria bounces out to Gordon to lead-off the bottom of the fifth. Fernandez also grounds out. Then with two outs, Yelich smashes a solo home run to right. That puts the Fish ahead 3-2. Fide does recover to whiff Dietrich to end the frame.
The Dodgers rally again to tie in the sixth, further enraging Fernandez. After Puig and Hanley both whiff. (Hanley was smiling for some reason while walking back to the dugout), Gonzo walks, and kemp sigles him to second. Then Crawford doubles down the line in left, scoring Gonzo. The Dodgers have tied it up again! The Fish wisely intentionally walk Uribe to get to Butera. Fernandez easily blows him away to get out of the inning.
In the usual style of the 2014 Dodger season, the newfound tie lasts about five seconds. Stanton hits another huge blast to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. That’s his tenth by the way. The Fish take the lead back 4-3. McGehee grounds out. But Saltalamacchia reaches on a Hanley throwing error. Fife whiffs Jones for the second out. Finally Ozuna grounds out.
Fife is allowed to bat for himself in the top of the seventh. It’s a gamble. Fife grounds out, but doesn’t last much longer in the game. Gordon whiffs. Puig reaches on a Dietrich throwing error. But Hanley pops out.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hechavarria walks. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson is hit by a pitch in his foot. That’ll be all for Fife. J.P. Howell is called in to relieve. Yelich who homered earlier, sacrifices the runners over to second and third. Righty Jeff Baker,pinch-hitting for Dietrich grounds into a force out at the plate. Uribe goes home to cut down Hechavarria from scoring. Howell pitches around Stanton, walking him to load the bases. Howell whiffs McGehee looking on a full count to escape.
Jamey Wright pitches the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers. Wright gets Saltalamacchia to fly out to Kemp, and whiffs Jones. Ozuna grounds out for a 123 inning for Wright.
Right hander A.J. Ramos comes in to pitch the top of the ninth. The Dodgers counter with switch-hitter Chone Figgins. Figgy draws a walk. That’s the fifth walk of the year for the veteran. The Dodgers go to the bench again, using Andre Ethier to hit for Wright’s spot. Ethier dunks a single into right, landing just in front of Stanton. The right fielder makes a dive for it, and the ball bounces behind him. Figgins races around to score! The Dodgers tie it up again!
Gordon whiffs though for the first out. The Fish intentionally walk Puig. Hanley grounds what looks like to be a base hit up the middle, but Hechavarria makes a diving stop, and a flip to second in front of the sliding Puig. Initially the call is safe by the second base umpire. But the Marlins challenge. The call is overturned and Puig is ruled out. Then Gonzo grounds out, and we go to the bottom of the ninth.
The Dodgers leave Wright in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Hechavarria leads-off with a single to right. Pinch-hitter Donovan Solano sacrifices Hechavarria to second. Yelich’s ground out advances Hechavarria to third. Pinch-hitter Jeff Baker smokes a base hit off the wall in right. Puig makes a leaping attempt to catch it, but he smashes into the wall hard and falls to the ground. The Dodgers have lost the game, but Puig is down and slow to get up. He does get up a couple of minutes later and walks off the field under his own power. However he looked dazed. Test results after the game for concussion was negative.
At least Puig appears to be ok, but I don’t want to count our stars yet. What a frustrating game.
The Dodgers fly to Washington to face the Nationals for a three game series beginning on Monday night. With Clayton Kershaw pushed back to Tuesday, the undefeated Zack Greinke takes the mound instead. Washington will counter with Jordan Zimmerman.