Jansen’s Brainfart in 9th inning costs Dodgers the Game in 7-6 Loss
By Scott Andes
You know I had a nice little recap already written up about what should have been a nice win, and what was looking like a white knuckle save for Kenley Jansen. No Kenley just had to stupid the game away. After all he had allowed two consecutive singles to start the top of the ninth with the Dodgers leading 6-5 over the Padres at Dodger Stadium in front of a sold out crowd on Tommy Lasorda/Walter Alston bobblehead night. Jansen had got Cameron Maybin to whiff, and Mark Kotsay to pop out to get two outs. Then after a stolen base, Kenley had two strikes on Alexi Amarista. Then of course, Kenley had the biggest brainfart on the mound I have ever seen. He said he got dirt stuck in his cleats, and while he was moronically pawing at the mound with his cleats, pinch-runner Everth Cabrera stole home. Jansen’s throw was way too high, sailing off A.J. Ellis’s glove and going to the backstop, allowing Will Venable to score the winning run. Yeah that’s how the Dodgers lost tonight. Yell, scream, break furniture, kick some puppies, because that’s how I feel right now. I am disgusted by this loss tonight. The game featured another Endinson Volquez vs. Aaron Harang matchup. Harang pitched ok, and Volquez eventually succumbed to wildness. That was no surprise considering his long and established history of wildness. The Dodgers scored six runs on 11 hits tonight, and Kemp, Ethier, and Mark Ellis had eight of their eleven hits. Andre Ethier went 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs. Matt Kemp also had three hits, and went 3 for 5 as well. Mark Ellis went 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Despite Kemp and Ethier’s best efforts, the Dodgers still lost. The Dodgers had led 3-1, then 3-2, and then 4-2. Finally after headley tied it up with a two run home run, Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers back the lead 6-4, with a two-run home run of his own. What more can those two do each night? Kemp and Ethier can’t do everything. We need the rest of the team to step up, and these costly mental mistakes have to stop happening if the Dodgers expect to win. Of course the Giants won, and the Dodgers fall back into second place.
Top of the first. Shoddy defense from the infield corners, does Aaron Harang and the Dodgers in as the Padres score an early run on a single, an error, and a force out. Alexi Amarista starts the game by flying out to shallow left. Logan Forsythe hits a pop fly single to right, that lands about a couple of feet inside the line. Andre Ethier was too over-shifted to catch up to it. Chase Headley reaches when his little grounder to first goes right under Juan Rivera’s glove and into right field. Forsythe goes to third. Carlos Quentin’s ground ball force out scores Forsythe to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. The grounder could have been a double play, but more shoddy corner infield defense prevents this. Yasmani Grandal singles, but Harang gets out of the inning by whiffing Yonder Alonso.
The Dodgers even it up by plating a run in the bottom of the first on three consecutive hits off of Volquez from Mark Ellis, Mat Kemp, and Andre Ethier. Ethier’s single scores Ellis, as Quentin totally screws up any chance of playing the ball cleanly. The Dodgers tie the game at 1-1. Both pitchers exchange 123 second innings, with Volquez whiffing the side.
Harang pitches another 123 inning in the top of the third. The Dodgers finally break through to score two runs in the bottom of the third, as Volquez melts down. Three singles, and two walks, plate two runs for the Dodgers. Bobby Abreu starts the rally by walking. Mark Ellis singles Abreu to second. Kemp singles to right, to load the bases. Ethier’s single to right scores Abreu to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Rivera walks to force in the second run. The Dodgers lead 3-1. The Dodgers could have got so much more from this rally. Of course Kennedy flies out to right, A.J. Ellis whiffs, and Luis Cruz flies out to end the frame.
The Padres get one back in the top of the fourth. Carlos Quentin leads off with a home run over the center field wall. That inches San Diego a little closer, 3-2. Harang retires the next three San Diego hitters, Grandal, Alonso, and Will Venable.
The Dodgers wasted a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the fourth. Abreu works a one out walk, and steals second. Mark Ellis lines out to Headley. With first base open, the Padres decide to pitch to Kemp, and he whiffs for the third out.
Harang pitches a scoreless top of the fifth. The Dodgers plate another run in the bottom of the fifth, but could have had more. With one out, Rivera singles. The we see something we may never ever see again. A Juan Rivera stolen base! No seriously he did it, while Kennedy was batting. It’s his first steal since 2001. Kennedy doubles him home on a liner to right, to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. After AJ whiffed, and Volquez intentionally walks Cruz, Harang come to the plate. Mattingly probably should have pinch-hit for him, but he doesn’t, and Harang grounds out to end the inning.
Why was that important? Because Harang coughs up the lead in the top of the sixth, that’s why, smart guy. (hey I rhymed) It starts out with the usual missing of the strike zone. Harang walks Forsythe, and then Chase Headley, the guy we’ve been linked to trading for in rumors for weeks now, hits one into the right field pavilion seats for his eighth home run of the season, and the Padres tie it up, 4-4.
So the game was tied, but the next inning, Andre Ethier would untie it. The Dodgers would score two to take the lead. Reliever Brad Brach comes into pitch for Volquez, who comes out with a no-decision. Volquez went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, four walks, and six whiffs. With two outs I the frame, Kemp singles. Ethier smacks his 11th home run of the season to propel the Dodgers back into the lead 6-4. We really needed that blast, and the Dynamic Duo is back.
Aaron Harang pitches one last inning in the top of the seventh, and records a 123 frame. Whiffing Jesus Guzman for the third out. Harang is finally hit for, after he goes seven frames, allowing four runs on four hits, three earned runs, one walk, and four whiffs on 104 pitches. Ronald Belisario replaces him in the top of the eighth. Miles Mikolas pitches a scoreless bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and a walk. Belisario oddly allows a rare run in the top of the eighth, as the Dodger lead shrinked to 6-5. Amarista doubles to lead off. Forsythe’s grounder moves Amarista to third. Headley whiffs, but Quentin’s RBI single scores Amarista, to make it a 6-5 game. Grandal grounds out to end the frame.
Move to the bottom of the eighth. Mark Ellis walks. Kemp flies out to left. San Diego removes Mikolas, and brings in lefty Alex Hinshaw. Ethier whiffs, and Rivera bounces into a force out.
Kenley Jansen comes on to close out the top of the ninth for the Dodgers. This is the inning where all the stupid happens. I don’t want to give Jansen too much of a hard time. He’s still one of the best closers in Baseball, but he’s a rookie, and this is what you call not having a Baseball IQ. Yonder Alonso, and Will Venable both single to put runners at first and third with none out. Jansen has to battle. He whiffs Cameron Maybin after he fouls off about a hundred pitches. Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay pops out to second, and it looks like Jansen was going to get out of it. Then with Alexi Amarista at the plate, Venable steals second. Jansen had two strikes on Amarista, and then begins to start pawing at the mound. Apparently he had dirt stuck in his shoes. He completely forgets about the runners, or something. I don’t know, the play happened so fast. Needless to say it was utterly moronic. Everth Cabrera, the pinch-runner at third base notices Jansen off in LA LA land meandering on the mound, and breaks for home plate. Jansen looks up, and sees him, and makes a wild throw to the plate. You know a good throw may have gotten him, and the game would be over, but no, of course not. The throw is predictably high and off line, sailing over AJ’s glove and going all the way to the backstop. The home plate umpire was momentarily confused and thought AJ had caught the ball and called Cabrera out, but then sees the ball sailed off, and correctly changes his call to safe. Venable races all the way around to score from second base, and that’s it, the Padres take the lead 7-6. Come on Kenley, pay attention to the runners! I guess you can only go to the well so many times before it dries up.
The Dodgers go down 123 in the bottom of the ninth, and the Padres even up the series. Huston Street gets the save, and Alex Hinshaw gets the win. Jansen takes the much deserved loss for his idiocy. I’m sorry I love Kenley, but that mental mistake was unacceptable. Not surprisingly the Giants beat the Astros tonight, and the Dodgers fall back into second place.
Before the game we heard rumors that the Dodgers have a deal on the table with the Cubs to send minor league pitchers Garrett Gould, and Chris Withrow for Ryan Dempster. Nothing has been made official, yet and we’ll let you know as soon as hear anything. I think we all are getting antsy for the team to make a trade. It’s great that we have Kemp and Ethier back, but the team has a lot of holes, and the only way to fix some of the holes and put the team over the hump is to make some trades and bring in some players from outside the organization. The Dodgers need to trade for a corner infielder, and a starting pitcher. The momentum from the great start they had the first two months of the season has soured because the team has sucked so bad the last few weeks. A trade needs to happen now, or as soon as possible.
The Dodgers try for the series win tomorrow afternoon, as veteran journeyman Jason Marquis will take the mound for San Diego. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley. Only the Dodgers could lose the game in the top of the ninth with two outs, on a double steal of home because our closer lost his mind for a few minutes. I’m trying to calm down guys and remain positive, but these kind of losses are hard to stomach. It seems like sometimes this team keeps finding new and embarrassing ways to lose games. Check in with us tomorrow for more of our Dodger coverage. Go Blue.