There are tough losses, bad losses, and then there are losses like yesterday’s. Tough losses are usually close games that can go either way; they hurt, but you hold your head up high because you played a good ball game. Bad losses are when a team gets killed; these are usually the easy ones to forget because once down 10-0 in the 5th inning, you’ve already forgotten about it. And then there are losses like yesterday’s: completely flat, uneventful, and hard to hold your head up after it. Not one great play, not one good hit, nothing to really give the fans (nor themselves) anything to cheer about - yet they were within arms reach the entire game and couldn’t figure it out.
The Dodgers were down 1-0 in the 2nd inning, then 2-0 in the 4th inning, and then 4-0 in the 8th. They gave up 2 homeruns (which seemingly was the story all series long - the D-Backs had 6 homeruns in the 3 game series) and could really never spark anything offensively themselves. They recorded just two hits, one of which was a bleeder up the middle by the pitcher, Fife.
Despite adding Ramirez and Shane Victorino, who made his Dodger debut on the final game of the D-Back series, the Dodgers looked lifeless. And that’s somewhat surprising since they just came off of a 3 game sweep against the Giants to put them at first place again.
The upside is that this already happened and that they’ll have today as a day off to reflect on it. Their team is without a doubt better than it was before the trade deadline and it’s just a matter of being comfortable up there and executing - something that they’ve proven can be done time and again.
The Dodgers now host the Cubs for 3 games and seek to gain ground on the Giants, who are 1 game in front of them, and hope to add some separation between themselves and the D-Backs, who are within just 1.5 of the Dodgers.
- Shane Victorino’s debut - the crowd was surprisingly welcoming. I didn’t hear 1 boo. Also, Victorino went 0-4, but hit a line drive straight at the center fielder which could have scored a couple runs. He started at left (which is where he’ll be for the rest of the season).
- Bobby Abreu was designated for assignment (which is a sort of purgatory state while the Dodgers figure out what to do with him, while freeing up a space on the 40-man roster for a new arrival, in this case, Victorino).
- Juan Uribe was actually put in to pinch hit (he’s batting .193 and was at .198 when he came in to the ballgame). How they didn’t designate him for assignment instead of Abreu, beats the hell out of me. Sure, left field is saturated with bench players, but Abreu can at least hit. Besides, you have 2 solid third basemen’s with Hairston and Hernandez.
It was a little difficult to watch right from the beginning (the game, that is - because the sky was something else!) Paul Goldsmitt hit a 3 run shot in the top of the first inning off of Harang, and then Chris Johnson followed with a grand slam in the 5th inning. All D-back outs, too, were pretty hard hit shots that somehow found gloves. It could have been a whole lot worse.
And on the offensive end, the Dodger bats weren’t as much non-existent as they were un-timely; their hits never seemed to fall in a favorable order despite getting 8 of them.
Thankfully, the Giants also lost to the Mets (in large part due to Jerry Hariston’s younger brother, Scott’s 2 homeruns in their 8-7 win in extras), so they’re still tied for 1st. However, the D-backs are within 3 games of both the Dodgers and the Giants — Should get interesting. (Especially with all the trade talks as of late!).
Lastly, I did manage to miss the most exciting play of the game when Rivera gunned down Parra at home in the 6th - but it wasn’t for nothing. A little boy got hit by a foul ball that skipped off the Dodger dugout and into the stands. Magic Johnson, who was in attendance in his regular spot behind the Dodger on-deck circle, got up and walked over a few sections to see if the kid was ok. He was. And not only did he get a ball from Adam Kennedy (I’m almost positive it was him that threw it from the dugout), he got it signed by Magic and got a few pictures out of it too, not to mention a huge applause from the crowd…A very pleasant situation that could have easily been an ugly one.
(There’s Magic up top checking to see if the young fan was ok and signing the ball that Kennedy tossed over - you can see Kennedy on the right corner looking over)
- Cruz ends 12 game hitting streak
- Hanley Ramirez makes Dodger Stadium debut and goes 0 for 4, though he did steal a base.
- Kempt goes 3 for 4
- UPDATE: It ended up being Josh Lindblom’s last appearance as a Dodger as he got traded in a deal with a Minor Leaguer for Shane Victorino, just hours before the trade deadline. (We’ll miss you Josh, it a bummer to see you go!)
Full recap here:
- The Dodgers rallied in the 10th to tie it 3-3
- Longest game of season for Dodgers, both time-wise and number of innings
- It was Matt Kemp’s first HR since his DL stints
- All Dodger bench players played
- Kershaw and Lee both gave up just 1 earned run, and neither of them got the win
- Dodgers snap their 4-game losing streak
…this time it was Dee Gordon, who is out for at least 6 weeks with a broken thumb after stealing his 30th base in the 4-1 Arizona defeat.
The Dodgers are now 1.5 games ahead of the Giants with 2 more games to go with the D-Backs.
The good news is that Kemp and Ethier are due back after the All-star break and Mark Ellis and Javy Guerra are back.
This by the way, now means that the heart of the Dodger lineup, batters 1-4, which include Dee Gordon, Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier, have all sustained serious injuries this season…And it’s not even the All-Star break yet.
Though if you would have told anyone that the Dodgers would lose over half of their starting lineup to injuries, including Matt Kemp for over one quarter of the season, and they would still be in first place with 47 wins, no one in their right mind would believe you.
All in all, the Dodgers have had a pretty damn good first half, especially under their injury-filled circumstances.
The Dodgers lost their season-high, 6th straight game, and were shutout for the fourth time in five days when they faced R.A. Dickey and the Mets on Friday night. They have been scoreless in 47 out of their last 48 innings.
Dickey is the first pitcher to get to 12 wins this season. The guy is damn good. He had a 1-hitter going into the 7th and gave up 3 hits total before coming out after the 8th. On the flip side, Harang went 5.2 innings and gave up 4 runs.
The Dodgers have lost 9 out of their last 10 games and are still 1 game out of first place behind the Giants (as they lost as well).
It’s a slump alright. Let’s see how they respond. And remember, true character and resiliance is tested when you’re down, not when you’re at the top.
So the Dodgers are slumping. Big time!
In the month of June, the Dodger’s have not only lost the ‘best record in the Majors’ title, but have also managed to come in dead last in batting average in the NL at .222 and homeruns, at just 6. The Dodgers are also 13th out of 16 in OBP at .299, and second to last in runs scored at a measly 3.4 runs per game (just ahead of the Marlins).
To put it into perspective the Dodgers haven’t scored a run in their last 21 innings, and are just 1 game in front of the Giants (who could tie it up today if the Dodgers can’t avoid the sweep against the struggling Lincecum, who has a 2-8 record with a 6.07 ERA.
Kemp is still nowhere to be found with his strained ham-string, their Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw is nearing a .500 record at 5-4, and Ethier has cooled off considerably, batting just .218 in the month of June; not to mention their Tiple A bench hasn’t been producing nor coming in clutch like they had been.
Ok, now that we got that out of the way, here’s the good news: this will pass.
Baseball is a game of numbers and it has tendancy to even out. The Dodgers are better than this (much better than this!) and it’s just a matter of time before they turn it around.
That being said, now would be a great time to bounce back.
There are games that require a little more analysis of why the Dodgers lost. In last night’s case however, it was pretty simple:
Aaron Harang pitched 3.2 innings and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 6 K’s - Not bad right? Well, he also had a carrier high, 8 walks.
By the end of the top of the first inning, the damage was done, the Athletics scored 3 and the Dodgers ended up posting just 2 hits the entire game.
We’ll chalk that off as an off-day; hopefully Nate Eovaldi can put the Dodgers in a better position tonight.
NOTE: Because the Dodgers have had so many different players step up and be the hero on any given night, I found it fitting to have a spinning wheel representing the hero of the game. Whether it be their stars like Kershaw, Kemp, Ethier, and AJ (yeah, he’s a star now, too), their role players like Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn Jr, and Jerry Hairston Jr, and their Triple A guys like Elian Herrera, Jerry Sands, and Scott Van Slyke - there seems to be a random new hero every game. And that must be celebrated.
(Special thanks to Ed for designing the wheel to perfection!).
So here’s the first (of hopefully many) “Dodger Hero of the Game” posts:
…and a special honorable mention to Andre Ethier, who kept the Dodgers in the game with his 3 incredible catches. Honestly, without one of those 3 catches, the game would have had a very different ending.