Thank god this miserable road trip is over. Although it doesn’t matter where the Dodgers play, or what kind of weather they play in, they still lose. The Dodgers lost again in Washington, dropping their second straight road series, and finishing a lousy road trip (weather wise) with a mediocre 5-4 record. Yeah, don’t blame it on the rain. The Dodgers lost this game all on their own.
And that’s what this team is, mediocre. 230 million dollars apparently gets us third place. Maybe you could blame some of it on the rain, but come on. It’s not like it would have made much difference. They still would have lost anyways. The club has now lost four of their last six games on the road trip.
Even Yasiel Puig’s return to the lineup did diddly. First the hour and forty minute rain delay didn’t help either team. Of course Washington was still able to win pretty handily. Both starting pitchers struggled in the first innings, Dan Haren, who was returning to his old stomping grounds, threw 39 pitches in the first inning and allowed two earned runs. That tied the game at 2-2.
The Dodgers had originally grabbed the lead by getting to Stephen Strasburg early. The Dodger strategy was to lay off of his off-speed pitches and go after his fastballs. It seemed to work in the first inning. The Dodgers had four consecutive singles in the top of the first. Crawford, Hanley, Puig, and Gonzalez all singled, with Puig’s and Gonzo’s being RBI hits.
The Nationals also had four hits in their first inning off of Haren. Span singled. Werthless doubled Span to third, and then LaRoche’s long two-run single off the top of the wall in the right field corner, scored both runners to tie the game.
The difference in the game came in the fifth. In this frame, again Span singled. Werthless singled, and a wild pitch, and intentional walk to LaRoche loaded the bases. Catcher Wilson Ramos, who was activated off of the disabled list today, plated Span with a sacrifice fly. That made it 3-2 Washington. Span and Werthless each had two hits apiece.
That was it. The Dodgers had one last chance in the eighth, when Gordon singled, and stole second. But Hanley and Gonzo both failed to score him.
Strasburg picked up the win, by throwing seven innings, and allowing two earned runs on seven hits He whiffed six, and made 114 pitches. Haren threw six frames, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, and whiffed two. He picks up his first loss of the season and is now 4-1.
The Dodgers are now 19-16 on the season and firmly entrenched in third place. The Dodgers now come home to start a seven game home stand with a four game series against the Giants. The club plays even worse at home. They are 6-9 at Dodger Stadium. The Giants are flying in from Pittsburgh, and lost today. The Dodgers remain 2,5 games behind San Francisco.
The Dodgers start out hot and get to Strasburg with four singles in the top of the first to take an early 2-0 lead. After Dee Gordon grounds out, Carl Crawford, and Hanley Ramirez reach base with consecutive singles. Adrian Gonzalez’s ground ball single into right scores Crawford to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Then Yasiel Puig finds the hole as well. His single goes into left field to score Hanley, and the Dodgers are now up 2-0.
So after four consecutive singles, Ethier flies to left, and Juan Uribe grounds into a force to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first Haren gives up the lead immediately. A single to Denard Span. Carl Crawford makes a nice running catch against the wall on Anthony Rendon’s long drive to left. Then Werthless doubles over Ethier’s head, sending Span to third. Adam LaRoche singles in Span, and Werthless. Catcher Wilson Ramos doubles Werthless to third, to put runners at second and third. Haren walks Ian Desmond to load the bases. Haren fights his way out of the jam, by whiffing Danny Espinosa, and getting Kevin Fransen to pop out.
Strasburg retires the Dodgers in order in the second frame, whiffing Olivo for his first whiff. Haren also retires the Nats in order in the bottom of the second.
Both pitchers exchange 123 innings in the third. In the top of the fourth, the Dodgers get a base runner when Ethier singles with one out. But Uribe grounds into a double play. Haren handles the Nationals in the bottom of the fourth, pitching around a Frandsen single.
The Dodgers go down again in the top of the fifth. The Nationals predictably take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Span singles to right. After Rendon pops out, Werth singles Span to third. A wild pitch from Haren allows Werth to go to second. Then LaRoche is intentionally walked to load the bases. Ramos plates Span with a sacrifice fly to right. Washington leads 3-2.
The Dodgers threaten in the top of the sixth, but can’t score as usual. Crawford singles. Hanley flies out, and Gonzo whiffs. Puig works a walk, but Ethier grounds to second.
Haren has a 123 frame in the bottom of the sixth, keeping the score at 3-2. He whiffs Espinosa, and gets Frandsen, and Strasburg to ground out.
Chris Withrow takes over for Haren and blows away the Nats in the bottom of the seventh. The Dodgers threaten in the top of the eighth. Gordon legs out an infield squibber. Crawford’s fly to left is unable to advance Gordon. So with Hanley at the plate, Gordon steals second. That’s his MLB leading 20 steal of the year. Then Strasburg walks Hanley to put two on with one out.
Washington hooks Strasburg, and brings in the lefty Jerry Blevins to face Gonzo. After a long battle, Blevins wins by getting Gonzo to foul out. With two outs, Washington brings in Tyler Clippard to face puig. He gets Puig to fly to center, and the Dodgers don’t score. Take notes, that’s what a real bullpen looks like.
Brian Wilson pitches the bottom of the eighth. He gets a lineout on LaRoche, but then walks Ramos. Desmond whiffs for the first out. Espinosa singles Ramos to third, but Wilson gets out of it by getting Frandsen to ground into a force out.
Washington’s closer Rafael Soriano is called in to close the game in the top of the ninth. Ethier grounds out to second. Uribe whiffs. Matt Kemp is called on to pinch-hit for Olivo. He predictably whiffs, and the Dodgers lose 3-2.
Welp the Dodgers lose again. Yeah don’t blame it on the rain. The Boys in Blue will finally be coming home, flying back to Dodger Stadium after the game. Tomorrow night the Dodgers face the Giants at 7:10 PM in the first game of the four game series. Ryan Vogelsong will battle Josh Beckett in the series opener.