Bumpen Blows Game for Dodgers, Wastes Ethier’s Home Run
By Scott Andes
We have traveled back in time to 2011. The same problem the Dodgers have had over the last two years. The Dodgers were in prime position after an amazing Andre Ethier go-ahead home run in the eighth gave them a 4-3 lead. Again, it was the lousy Bumpen blowing another game in the ninth inning. This time it was the Brewers backup catcher that delivered the game wining double for the Brewers. It is like I have obtained a delorean time machine and am now back in early 2011.
Calling the Game on twitter, refers to the pen as “The Box of Pain.” However Stacie and I have been calling it the “Bumpen” over the last two years. Whatever you want to call it, you can’t win games with a bullpen that blows any and all leads obtained. Too bad it wasted Ethier’s home run.
Dee Gordon leads off the game by slapping a clean single into right field. Then of course Dee is picked off of first base for his first real TOOTBLAN of the year. Sigh. Ellis flies out to shallow right. Kemp doubles over the head of Morgan, to deep center field. I think we all know who the real MPV is, don’t we? There is a wild pitch from Gallardo that easily sends Kemp to third. However Ethier whiffs on a 2-2 pitch, and the Dodgers don’t score.
Ricki Weeks leads off the bottom of the first with a double over Kemp’s head into deep center field. Nyger Morgan hits a come-backer right back to the box. Bills catches Weeks off of second base, and the Dodgers have him in a rundown. They finally tag him out, but Morgan takes second base during the rundown. That brings up Ryan Braun, A.K.A. the roider. Apparently Popeye didn’t eat enough spinach today, as Bills whiffs him like a rented mule. Aramis Ramirez, who is off to a very slow start for the Brewers, fouls out to right field, and the Dodgers get out of it.
Top of the second goes quickly for the Dodgers. Rivera flies out to center. Loney pathetically whiffs. Uribe hits the ball hard, but right at Morgan in center field. No score.
Bottom of the second. Corey Hart hits a slicing line drive down the left field line, that Rivera chases into the corner and makes a great sliding catch. Next up, Matt Gamel, the rookie slugs a Bills meatball into the center field brewery or something. Needless to say it is a long home run. Catcher Jonathon Lucroy, hits a long fly ball to deep center field, Kemp leaps up against the wall to make the catch, but the ball pops out of his glove on the way down. It’s a triple for Lucroy. Tough play, most center-fielders would have had no shot at catching that ball. As if this inning couldn’t get any worse, it does. Just wait because there is so much stupid going on in this inning that I almost couldn’t keep up. So Mattingly decides to bring the infield up, with old friend Cesar Izturis at the plate. Need I remind everyone that the pitcher Gallardo is on deck. I know he was trying to prevent the run, but the pitcher is on deck. Izturis easily smacks one of Bill’s meatballs up the middle through the drawn in infield for the second run of the inning. Gallardo bunts out. Weeks hits a shallow pop fly to right field that falls just in front of the outstretched glove of Mark Ellis. The ball drops just inside the foul line and bounces into the stands. It is a ground rule double, and the Dodgers get a break, because Izturis is forced to go back to third base. Finally Morgan grounds out. However the Brewers put up two runs to take a 2-0 lead.
Gallardo easily retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the third. A.J. Ellis, Bills, and Gordon all quickly make out.
Bottom of the third. Bills accidentally plunks Braun to lead off the inning. Braun tries to steal second, or there is a busted hit and run play, either way, he is gunned out by Ellis. Ramirez flies out, hart grounds out. End of frame.
Top of the fourth. Gallardo has a 123 inning retiring the Dodgers in order. Ellis flies out. Bison whiffs. Ethier pops out.
Bottom of the fourth. Gamel lines out to Bison, as he makes a nice lunging back-handed catch. Lucroy pops out, and Izturis the former Dodger, grounds out.
Rivera leads off the top of the fifth inning, with a double into the gap. Loney sporting what looks to be a different batting stance, knocks a base hit up the middle, sending Rivera to third. Uribe hits a shallow pop fly to Weeks, who comes into shallow right field, to catch the ball then drop it. This allows Rivera to score, on what is eventually ruled an error on Weeks. Then with A.J. Ellis at the plate, Loney tries to steal second base and gets thrown out by a mile. It looked like a busted hit and run play, but can’t be sure. So of course as if on cue, Ellis smacks a double into the gap. However by now it is too late, as Loney has TOOTBLANed away the inning. Next up, Bills whiffs for the third out. The Dodgers do get one and cut the lead to 2-1.
The bottom of the fifth is very quick for Bills, as he retires the side in order on three consecutive grounders. Yovani Gallardo has another 123 inning in the top of the sixth. Bills retires the brewers in order in the bottom of the sixth, with Uribe making a nice play on a sharp hit ground-ball. Bills has no retired nine in a row.
Move to the top of the seventh. Dre leads off with a hit down the right field line. Cory Hart tries to slide catch the ball, but it bounces off his glove, and Dre is into second with a double. Rivera’s grounder to first moves Dre over to third base. Loney trying his best to atone for his TOOTBLAN earlier slams a double down the right field line, scoring Rivera. Tie Game!
Uribe’s fielder’s choice grounder sees Loney thrown out at third base by Lucroy. This is Loney’s second TOOTBLAN of the afternoon. With Uribe at first base, Milwaukee wisely intentionally walks A.J. Ellis, to get to Bills spot. Mattingly decides to hit for Bills, and go for the lead. Only problem is he uses the worst hitter off the bench, Adam Kennedy. He flies out to right, and the inning is over. Might as well just leave Bills in there, but at least The game is tied though. Bills leaves with a no-decision. He goes 6 innings, allowing two runs off five hits, no walks, and two whiffs. Bills made 83 pitches.
Bottom of the seventh. Guerrier enters to pitch. Gamel leads off and singles to the hole at first. Guerrier goes full count on Lucroy and whiffs him with a nice hanging breaking ball. One out. Gamel steals second to put himself in scoring position. Izturis bloops a single in front of Bison in centerfield, and there are runners at first and third. Milwaukee decides to pull Gallardo and go to the bench. Gallardo goes seven innings whiffing seven. Aoki, the Japanese player, comes off the bench, and lays down a suicide squeeze. Gamel scores, as the Dodgers can only take the out at first. 3-2 Milwaukee. Ricki Weeks slams a Long drive to deep center field. Matt Kemp, who got plenty of cardio today in center field, proves why is the best in Baseball by making a leaping catch against the wall. Another highlight reel catch that gets the Dodgers out of the inning.
So after Guerrier predictably blows the tie, the Dodgers bat in the top of the eighth. With one out, Mark Ellis bloops a base hit into center. Bison comes up facing Frankie Rodriguez, also known as K-Rod. He whiffs Bison, and things look bleak. It looks like it could be over….Not if Andre Ethier has anything to say about it. Dre saves the Dodgers bacon, by slamming a monster go-ahead two-run home run, putting the Dodgers ahead 4-3. You can’t stop Andre Ethier, you can only hope to contain him.
Bottom of the eighth. Dodgers call in Jansen to pitch. Jansen blows away all three batters. Morgan and Braun both whiff. Ramirez hits along fly to center that Bison makes another fantastic catch on the run. Move to the top of the ninth. Jose Veras enters the game for Milwaukee and retires the Dodgers in order.
Bottom of the ninth. Javy comes in to close out the game. Hart reaches on a ground ball single into left. Here we go. Carlos Gomez pinch runs for Hart, and steals second base. Gamel walks. Lucroy tries to bunt the runners over but can’t and whiffs. One out. George Kottaras, the backup catcher is called from the bench to hit for Izturis. Now keep in mind that the Brewers regular shortstop Alex Gonzalez is on Paternity leave, so if the Brewers tie but it goes to extras, they would have no one to play shortstop. That becomes a moot point. Kottaras slams a double into the gap, that scores both runners, and the Dodger Bumpen blows another game.
Look, I know we had to lose at some point, but losing like this is very frustrating. Terrible managing, bad base-running, and lousy Bumpen. Yep we have traveled back to last year.
I’m done for tonght. Tomorrow’s game will see Cappy vs. Greinke in game two. Join us tomorrow for more Dodger Baseball. Let’s hope the bumpen doesn’t blow another one. Goodnight all.