Choke Choke Choke, Dodgers Drop Another Home Series, Same As It Ever Was

Padres     4 8 0Dodgers  3 10 1WP-Vincent-2-0LP-Tolleson-1-1SV-layne-2


It was a different day, but same results for the Dodgers. The Dodgers lose another one-run game to the Padres by a score of 4-3, and lose another series at home. The team choked away another great opportunity to pick up a Game in both the division race, and the wild card. The last few weeks the team has been losing in the exact same way every time. Don’t believe me? Just tune in and watch a Dodger game to find out. The depleted pitching staff serves up runs in the first inning. As always, the deflating first inning runs put the Dodgers behind instantly. Bad base running, poor clutch hitting, and more tactical blunders by Don Mattingly. The Dodgers finish the homestand with a losing record, 3-4.

Before the game the Dodgers announced they had placed Chad Billingsley on the 60 day DL, and recalled rookie left hander Steven Rodriguez. Of course this wasn’t much of a surprise to me. I figured Bills wouldn’t be back at all this season. Now it appears his 2013 season is in jeopardy as well. He has a torn UCL in his elbow, and may require surgery. The Dodgers will wait a few more weeks before they make that decision.

In the meantime, the Dodgers were doing what they do best…losing at home to bad teams. I’ve noticed a lot of mixed reactions on twitter. Some may think its due to the injuries. Some may think, its because of the bad hitting. Some may thing it is due to bad luck. Whatever the reason you think it is, it is becoming increasingly clear, that the Dodgers aren’t going to make it this season. I’m currently still in the frustration phase, but am slowly moving into the acceptance phase. I’m just calling it like I see it. I owe it to you guys, our faithful readers, to be honest and direct and not mince words. Again, if I were to be dishonest, I would be doing you guys a disservice. As of right now, things don’t look good.

I think we all are very frustrated right now, and are trying to figure out why this team is playing so bad with all of this talent. My opinion is that there is a lack of leadership in the clubhouse, and it all starts and ends with the manager. But that’s my opinion. Let us know, how do you think the Dodgers will finish this season? Do you think they will make it to the playoffs?

Of course it wasn’t just bad managing or lack of passion that sunk this game for the Dodgers. It was a mix of things. Aaron Harang gave up three runs in the first inning, putting the team behind by three runs before they even came to bat. A ground ball single to Everth Cabrera. A walk to Venable. A run scoring double from Chase Headley, and an errant relay throw form Hanley Ramirez, allowed the second run to score. The third run scored on a little infield dribbler from Yasmani Grandal. Harang only lasted five frames, allowing three runs on seven hits. He walked three and whiffed only one. Harang wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t good either. Neither starting pitcher lasted past the fifth inning, and neither pitcher was involved in the decision. opposing starter Clayton Richard, was shaky as well, allowing three runs on ten hits in 4.2 innings, before being hooked.

The Dodgers scored one run in the second, third, and fifth innings to tie the game at 3-3, but only could muster one run in each frame. Once again, terrible hitting, and plate approaches, and poor base running ended each scoring rally. Consecutive singles from Ramirez, Ethier, and Cruz plated one in the second frame. Consecutive singles from M.Ellis, Shane Victorino, and Adrian Gonzalez plated a run in the third. The Dodgers got one more to tie in the bottom of the fifth. Hanley Ramirez knocked in the third run with an RBI single.

Don Mattingly made a costly blunder in the top of the sixth. In that frame he made a double switch, bringing in Shawn Tolleson to pitch, and taking out our hottest hitter Luis Cruz, for Adam Kennedy. All so Tolleson could pitch a second inning and cough up the tie. That’s just what he did. I am noticing a lot of people are not liking Mattingly’s moves on twitter. More and more people are questioning his shoddy in-game strategies. Honestly I was never a big fan of Mattingly managing. I just don’t think he has the experience or passion to lead a team to the world series. I haven’t been as hard on him this year, but what do you think?

The Padres scored the fourth and deciding run off of Tolleson in the top of the seventh. Will Venable walked and stole second. Headley singles him to third. Venable scored on a sac fly from Carlos Quentin. The Dodgers had their best chance to take the lead in the bottom half of the seventh. After Gonzalez walked, Matt Kemp, hit what looked like another one of his deep bombs to center, which would have put the Dodgers ahead by a run. Of course Padre’s center fielder, Cameron Maybin, made a leaping catch at the wall, to rob Bison of a home run, and rob the Dodgers of a win. That in a nutshell, is the 2012 season.

Nick Vincent took the win in relief for San Diego, his second of the season. Shawn Tolleson took the loss for the Dodgers. Lefty Tommy Layne picked up the save. The youngster retired Gonzo on the ninth inning on a ground out, for the last out.

I’m keeping this losscap short tonight, because the loss last night really drained me of energy. I’m tired, frustrated, and disappointed. Every team responds to pressure differently. Some teams respond well, and rise to the challenge. Other teams fall flat on their face. Right now, the Dodgers are doing the latter. Remember you can still critique the team, and still love and cheer them on at the same time.  Just like you can have two differing opinions in your head at the same time.

Sure I could look on the bright side and say, hey we didn’t lose any ground, because the Giants lost to Arizona, and the Cardinals lost to the Mets, and R.A. Dickey. What’s the point though? It’s just another day lost on the calendar. We’re running out of days on the calendar. With the loss, the Dodgers fall to 73-65. They remain 4.5 behind the Giants, and 1.5 behind for a wild card spot.

Say what you will, but good teams find a way to win these games. Bad teams don’t. The truth is, the Dodgers just aren’t that good of a team…right now. Next year,when everyone is healthy, and everyone has had a chance to play together from the beginning of the season, and the pitching staff can be upgraded, then that will be a different story. I really believe that next year is our year. As for 2012? I’m sorry guys, but I just don’t see it. A depleted pitching staff, inconsistent lineup, poor clutch hitting, bad in-game management, and a weak bench, will make sure we’re making golf reservations this October. I think the Dodgers finish September with a .500 record, and finish 86-76. That’s a very respectable record, but I don’t think it’ll be good enough to make the playoffs. Sorry guys, there is always next year.

The Dodgers don’t have any time to lick their wounds. Tomorrow is an off-day, and then the team will travel to San Francisco, straight into the lion’s den, for the most important series of the year. Anything less than winning two of three will surely mean the end of the Dodger season. Would anyone really be surprised if that were to happen? The team has already choked away the season in the second half anyways. The pitching match-ups for the series will be Josh Beckett vs. Tim Lincecum on Friday night. Chris Capuano vs. Matt Cain on Saturday afternoon, and Clayton Kershaw, vs. Barry Zito on Sunday night.

We’ll have all of the particulars for you about the San Francisco series tomorrow. We hope you will join us then. No matter how the Dodgers finish, we still love them and will never stop bleeding Dodger Blue. We’ll go down with you guys. Misery loves company right? Go Blue.