Braves Chop Depleted Dodgers 8-1, To Earn Series Split
By Scott Andes
Despite that little four out of five win streak or whatever it was the Dodgers entered the final game of their four game series against the Atlanta Braves still firmly entrenched in last place in the NL West. The team’s never ending injury list continued to grow. The Dodgers placed the eternally rusty Ted Lilly back on the DL again with a rusty neck, and were forced to recall Royal High graduate Matt Magill to start this afternoon’s game. Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup again with a hamstring strain. Apparently the team has shut him down and ordered him to have an MRI to determine the severity of the strain. Whatever. I have a feeling he is cooked, and won’t be playing in many games this season. The club also reported Matt Kemp had a setback while running, and his return has been postponed for the time being. Of course. Andre Ethier was also not in the lineup as well due to a sore foot. I can’t keep up with all of these injuries. Half of the Dodger regulars are all on the DL. The Dodgers now are almost entirely comprised of minor leaguers, and punch-less utility players. So it’s not surprising that the Braves a real competitive Major League Baseball team routed the Dodgers 8-1 this afternoon to earn a series split. The season of suck goes on.
Magill was really atrocious today-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Magill was predictably atrocious, as he struggled with his command again. Magill allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings, but four of them were unearned, thanks to an error from Adrian Gonzalez. Magill walked six and whiffed two, and gave up a home run.
The Braves starter Mike Minor overcame wildness of his own to settle in and limit the Dodgers to one run and six hits over six frames. Minor whiffed six and walked three, and picked up the win.
The Braves scored four unanswered runs in the top of the third, thanks to a fielding gaffe from Gonzalez. Dan Uggla carried a big stick by hitting two home runs, and driving in four runs on the day. His three-run shot in the top of the third gave the Braves the lead for good. With one in the frame, Jason Heyward walked, and Gonzalez overran an easy grounder to allow Justin Upton to reach base. After Freeman singled to load the bases, and an Evan Gattis Sacrifice fly tied the game at 1-1, Uggla smashed a three-run home run into the Dodgers bullpen to give the Braves a 4-1 lead and shell shock poor Magill.
Atlanta scored three more runs in the top of the fourth with Magill still on the mound. Two more walks, and a single loaded the bases. Freeman’s three-run double cleared the bases and blew the game open for a 7-1 Atlanta lead. Uggla hit his second home run of the game a solo shot off of Ronald Belisario in the top of the fifth. Heyward, Justin Upton, and Uggla all had two hits in the game for Atlanta.
Minor pitches six strong frames to earn the win-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
As usual the Dodger offense did nothing all game long. Rookie superstar Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5 collecting three more hits, and raising his average to .464. he had two doubles and a single. He also made a couple more great throws from the outfield, and even played a little center field later in the game.
Well that’s about all there is to say about this one. The Dodgers fall back to eight games under .500. They’re treading water, but another day ticks off the calendar. The Dodgers fall to 27-35 on the season, and remain seven and a half games back of Arizona firmly rooted in last place. Here’s how this one went. Read on if you are brave soul, and or a glutton for punishment.
Magill has a little walkapalooza in the top of the first, but is able to pitch around it and escape the inning untouched. He whiffs. Jason Heyward walks. Justin Upton also walks. Freddy Freeman flies out to left. Simmons tags up to third. Rookie Evan Gattis grounds out, and the Dodgers get out of it.
Matt Kemp takes on an unfamiliar role for him. The role of spectator-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
In the bottom of the first, Yasiel Puig leads off with a single into center. Nick Punto reaches on a drag bunt single to first. There was nobody covering the bag after Freeman had to break for the ball. Minor walks Gonzalez to load the bases. Scott Van Slyke works the count to 3-2 and then grounds into a 5-2 force out at the plate. The bases remain loaded. Of course, Luis Cruz predictably whiffs. With two outs, Skip Schumaker grounds a little roller up along the third base line that takes a Blue roll, and stops halfway towards third base. The Braves don’t have a play, and Punto scores on the infield single. Everyone else moves up 90 feet, and the Dodgers lead 1-0. That also extends Schumaker’s hitting streak to 15 games. Federowicz’s foul out ends the inning.
Magill walks Dan Uggla in the top of the second. Ramiro Pena whiffs. Jordan Schafer sacrifices Uggla over to second. This is odd with the opposing starter on deck. Minor grounds out and that ends the top of the second.
The Dodgers threaten again in the bottom of the second. Mark Ellis snaps an 0 for 17 skid with a base hit to left. Magill attempts to sacrifice him over to second, but whiffs trying to bunt while Minor throws a wild pitch. It’s a strikeout and a wild pitch. M.Ellis advances to second anyways, so it’s as good as a bunt. Puig flies out to right, and M.Ellis has to hold at second. Punto’s line drive is snared by Freeman to deny Punto of an extra base hit, and also deny the Dodgers from scoring yet again.
Puig can only do so much-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
With one out on the top of the third, Magill walks his fourth of the game (Heyward). Then the Dodgers implode. Justin Upton’s little roller to first is dropped by Gonzo for an error. Freeman singles to right, and Puig makes another great throw to the plate to prevent the runners from scoring. But the bases are loaded. Gattis’s sacrifice fly scores Heyward to tie the game at 1-1. Then of course on cue, Uggla slams a three-run shot into the Dodger bullpen to give the Braves a 4-1 lead.
The Braves plate three more runs in the top of the fourth, as Magill continued to unravel. There were two walks, and a Heyward single which loaded the bases. Freeman’s three-run double cleared the bases, and just like that, Atlanta goes up 7-1. Uggla’s second homer of the day in the top of the fifth made it an 8-1 game.
I won’t bore you with anymore details about this crapfest. Needless to say the Dodgers lost. Puig did pick up a double in the bottom of the seventh, and his third hit, another double in the bottom of the ninth. Of course he was stranded at third in the seventh, and also stranded in the ninth. Skip Schumaker did extend his hitting streak to 15 games, and Van Slyke made a nice sliding catch in the eighth inning, so there is that!
Things don’t get any easier for the Dodgers as the first place Arizona Diamondbacks slither into town tomorrow night for a three game series. Tomorrow Clayton Kershaw will draw Wade Miley at 7:10 PM at Dodger Stadium. If only the Dodgers had seven more Yasiel Puigs’. Dream. Dream. Dream.