Dodgers Need All 12 Frames To Choke Away Important Game To Cardinals

Cardinals 5 8 0Dodgers   2 7 0WP-Miller-1-0LP-Ely-0-2SV-Motte-35HR-Ethier-19

The Dodgers choked away another critical game today. The Dodgers wasted a litany of scoring opportunities, and Don Mattingly blew through the entire bullpen by the ninth inning, and the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals 5-2 in 12 innings. The Dodgers and Cardinals split their four game series, and the Dodgers now must go on the road trailing the Cardinals by a game in the wild card race.

The Dodgers may have made trades this year to upgrade the offense, but the area that really needs upgrading is the manager. I know the offense is pathetic, but Mattingly couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag. The guy is a trainwreck. The Dodgers lose in the same fashion in every loss. Pathetic offense, and a bucket-load of tactical blunders by Mattingy. I like Don Mattingly as a coach, and I think he a nice guy, but he is definitely not the right guy to lead this team to a World Series, and today’s game is a prime example of why.

Stephen Fife-Photo by Mark Terrill

The Dodgers were supposed to start Clayton Kershaw today, but he couldn’t start because of a hip injury that is still bothering him. Kershaw will see a hip specialist while the team is in Washington D.C. to determine whether he will need season ending surgery or not. I have very little confidence the Dodgers will make the playoffs anyways, so maybe it doesn’t even matter.

Stephen Fife made the spot start for the Dodgers and pitched very well. Fife went five frames, allowing just the two runs, walking only one, and whiffing nine Red Birds. But Mattingly yanked him after five, and he came away with a no-decision. So did opposing starter Adam Wainwright. The Cardinal’s ace coming off of Tommy John surgery, pitched six frames allowing two runs on five hits, and whiffed four.

The script played out like all of the Dodger losses this year, and again Mattingly couldn’t pull the right strings. Just for once I would love to see Mattingly actually manage the team to a victory. The Dodgers gave up two runs to the Cardinals in the top the first. That’s how every game goes. A Beltran single. Matt Holiday was hit by a pitch, and Beltran scored on an RBI double from Allen Craig. The second run of that frame scored on a wild pitch.

The Dodgers would tie it up in the third inning, when Matt Treanor walked, and Andre Ethier hit a two-run home run into the right field pavilions, to tie the game at 2-2. The game would remain tied until the Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the twelfth to win it.

The Dodgers had many chances to score, but came up empty. The Dodgers wasted a lead-off Matt Kemp double in the sixth inning. They had two runners thrown out trying to steal by Yadier Molina. To make things even more frustrating, the Dodgers left the winning run stranded at third in the bottom of the tenth, which had gotten there with only one out.

Mattingly blew the game early by blowing through the entire bullpen by the ninth inning. Mattingly wasted three pitchers in the seventh inning, and by the time the twelfth rolled around, he was out of pitchers to use. With only John Ely, and Josh Wall left, he called in Ely to pitch the twelfth. Ely served up three runs to blow the game for the Dodgers. The big hits in that inning was an RBI double from Allen Craig with two outs, and an RBI single from Jon Jay. Rookie Shelby Miller picked up his first win. Ely took the much deserved loss, and Jason Motte picked up the save for the Cardinals by pitching the bottom of the twelfth inning. Mattingly just stood there and let Ely blow the game, and did nothing.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m not a fan of Mattingly. I never was. I don’t think the Dodgers will ever get to the playoffs under Mattingly. His management of the pitching staff is stupid, and inefficient and borders on reckless. His bunting costs the team runs, he fails to think ahead in games, and his passionless managing continues to stagnate the team. Why would he leave Ely on the mound with two outs, and the game on the line? Or better yet, why would he waste three pitchers to get out of the seventh inning? I don’t know the answers to those questions. But hey he’s coming back next year! Joy! So is Colletti as well. I just love it when Mediocrity is rewarded. Don’t you? (sarcasm alert)  Also note Adrian Gonzalez did nothing today, putting up an 0 for 5.

The Dodgers used a record ten pitchers, were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and left nine runners on base. I don’t think Mattingly is the right guy to lead this team. Besides even if the team does make it in somehow, how would we survive without Kershaw? I’m so frustrated right now. Well here is how the game went.

Stephen Fife begins the game by whiffing Jon Jay for the first out. Carlos Beltran singles to left. Matt Holiday is hit by a pitch to force Beltran to second. Allen Craig doubles off the low wall in left field to score Jay to give the Red Birds a 1-0 lead. Fife uncorks a wild pitch to allow Holiday to score from third, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first. Yadier Molina walks to load the bases. David Freese whiffs, but Treanor forgets how many outs there are and Molina steals second. Skip Schumaker whiffs on a called third strike to end the frame. Fife makes 31 pitches in the top of the first.

Adam Wainwright retires the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the first. Fife rebounds to strike out the side in the top of the second. Pete Kozma, Wainwright, and Jay all go down on whiffs. Fife now has six whiffs through the first two innings, but is losing 2-0. In the bottom of the second, Adrian Gonzalez grounds out. Hanley Ramirez singles into left. Luis Crux whiffs, and Mark Ellis flies out to center.

Fife gets Beltran to ground out in the top of the third. Holiday lines out to Gonzo. Craig flies out to Kemp for the third out. Wainwright walks Matt Treanor to open up the bottom half of the third. Fife lays down a nice sacrifice to move Treanor to second. Shane Victorino’s grounder moves Treanor over to third. With two outs, Andre Ethier blasts a two-run home run into the right field pavilions. The Dodgers tie it up! That’s Ethier’s 19th home run of the season, to take over the team lead. Matt Kemp whiffs to end the frame. Tie game!

Fife allows a one out single to Freese in the top of the fourth. Schumaker fouls out to Victorino, who makes a nice catch right up against the Box seat wall. Komza;s slicing fly ball to right is caught by Ethier for the third out of the frame.

Ethier hit his 19th home run

Wainwright allows a one out single to Cruz in the bottom of the fourth, but gets out of the inning without scorage. Fife begins the top of the fifth by whiffing Wainwright and Jay. Beltran singles. The Dodgers conference on the mound to talk about how to pitch to Holiday. Whatever they said it worked! Fife whiffs Holiday to end the frame. Great Job Fife!

Treanor leads off the bottom of the fifth with a walk. Elian Herrera comes off the bench to bat for Fife. While Herrera is batting, Treanor is thrown out trying to steal. Another busted hit and run play. Herrera reaches on a bunt single, but Victorino and Ethier both ground out.

Shawn Tolleson replaces Fife in the top of the sixth. Fife turns in a great outing. He pitches five frames, allowing two runs, four hits, one walk, and whiffs nine. He made 87 pitches. Tolleson does a great job and retires the Red Birds in order in the top of the sixth. Tolleson records one whiff on Molina.

Kemp leads off the bottom of the sixth with a double to the gap. Is Bison starting to come out of his slump? We hope so. Gonzalez grounds out to short, and can’t move Kemp to third. Hanley loops out to second. Cruz grounds out, and the Dodgers don’t score.

Randy Choate comes into the game in the top of the seventh to retire pinch-hitter Shane Robinson on a grounder. Jamey Wright allows a single to Kozma, whiffs Descalso, then is hooked. Paco Rodriguez is called in to get the last out. Kozma steals second, but Paco gets Jay to pop out. The Dodgers get out of it.

Trevor Rosenthal replaces Wainwright for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh. Wainwright pitches six frames, allowing two runs, five hits, two walks, and four whiffs.

After M.Ellis whiffs, Treanor draws his third walk of the game. Mattingly sends in Dee Gordon to pinch-run. The entire world knows Gordon will be stealing. The problem is Molina has one of the best arms in the game. He’s been gunning down runners the entire series. With Bobby Abreu at the plate pinch-hitting, Gordon tries to steal, and is easily thrown out by Molina. Lame. Bobby Blue then whiffs, and the Dodgers fail to score again.

Brandon League, and flame throwing rookie Trevor Rosenthal each turn in scoreless frames in the eighth inning.

League stays out to pitch the top of the ninth. He allowed a walk to Molina. But he gets a Freese force play, and a Matt Carpenter double play to escape the frame. We’re still tied at 2-2.

Move to the bottom of the ninth. Righty Fernando Salas is called in to pitch for the Cardinals. Of course Gonzalez pops out to open the frame. Hanley grounds out. Cruz flies out to right. We’re heading to extras.

Ronald Belisario whiffs Kozma to start the top of the tenth. Descalso doubles over Kemp’s head. Belisario gets Jay to ground to short. Descalso advances to third. The Dodgers intentionally walk Beltran. Belisario then gets Holiday to ground into a force out. The Dodgers get out of it.

Bottom of the tenth. Salas remains on the mound for the Red Birds. M.Ellis leads off with a base hit to right. A.J. Ellis who was double switched into the game two frames ago, sacrifices M.Ellis to second. Now with Juan Rivera at the plate as a pinch-hitter, Salas uncorks a wild pitch. M.Ellis moves over to third. The Cardinals order Rivera intentionally walked. The Cardinals have a meeting on the mound. Victorino hits into a fielder’s choice. Rivera is caught in a rundown between third and home on Victorino’s grounder to second. The Red Birds then intentionally walk Ethier to load the bases. Bison flies out to center, and the game continues.

Matt Guerrier pitches the top of the eleventh. Craig pops out. Guerrier hits Molina with a pitch. Pinch-hitter Bryan Anderson whiffs, while AJ is throwing out Molina trying to steal for a strike em’ out throw em’ out double play! Move to the bottom of the eleventh. The Cardinals bring in Shelby Miller to pitch. Gonzo grounds out. Hanley singles. Cruz fouls out. Of course Mark Ellis whiffs. We head to the twelfth.

John Ely comes in from the bullpen, and I think we all know how this turns out. Carpenter walks. Kozma sacrificed the runner to second. Descalso whiffs. Two outs! Cue the meltdown in 3….2….1…..Boom. Jon Jay doubles down the right field line to score Carpenter. 3-2 Cardinals.  Beltran is intentionally walked. Holiday is hit by a pitch. Mattingly just stands there and does nothing. He could have used Josh Wall. Or maybe not burn through the entire bullpen by the ninth inning?

Craig hits a grounder up the middle. Hanley makes the stop, but lazily flips to second too late. Another run scores to make it 4-2. Ely walks Molina to force in another run. 5-2 Cardinals. Finally Mattingly removed him, and brings in Josh Wall who gets Steven Hill to fly out to right to end the frame. Jason Motte pitches a scoreless bottom of the twelfth to record the win for the Cardinals.

With the loss the Dodgers fall to 76-71 on the season. The Boys in Blue will embark on the last road trip of the year, a nine game trip. Tomorrow is an off-day, and then on Tuesday night the Dodgers will begin a three game set in Washington against the first place Nationals. Aaron Harang will get the start for the Dodgers. Washington will counter with Jordan Zimmerman. Go Blue.