Dodger Bullpen Can’t Hold A Lead, Dodgers Lose 12 inning Marathon

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The Dodgers have some problems. The bullpen is one of them. What was supposed to be a team strength this season has turned into a pathetic mess. Once again, the Dodger bullpen blew what should have been a win. They had this game in the bag. With the club up 2-1 with one out in the ninth, Kenley Jansen gave up an infield single to Pagan, and a double to Belt which tied the game at 2-2. The club couldn’t score for the remainder of the game. The Dodger bullpen then blew the game in the bottom of the twelfth, when forced to use Brandon League. League blew it and the Dodgers lost 3-2 to the Giants on Jackie Robinson Day. Talk about making Jackie Embarrassed.

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Seems like two games ago that Josh Beckett was battling Tim Lincecum. Neither pitcher were involved in the decision, and neither went past five innings. Beckett actually pitched well, throwing five innings of shutout ball. Beckett allowed two hits, and whiffed four, but walked five and hit a batter. That’s probably the best we can ask for from him. Lincecum pitched five innings making 93 pitches, allowing one run on five hits and whiffing five.

Both teams left a small army of runners on base. The Giants left 16 on base, and the Dodgers left 13 stranded. But it didn’t matter because the Dodger bullpen sucks balls.

The Dodgers were up 1-0 after Uribe homered in the second inning. Uribe had a great game, getting three hits, and scoring twice.

The Giants tied it up in the bottom of the sixth, on a single from Pence, a throwing error, a wild pitch, and a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly. The Giants actually left the bases loaded three times in the fourth, fifth, and tenth innings. However the Dodger bullpen sucks, and predictably blew it.

With the game tied at 1-1, the Dodgers scored their second run in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead. Uribe doubled, and was sacrificed over to third. After a walk to Kemp, Justin Turner’s pinch-hit RBI single up the middle plated Uribe to put the Dodgers ahead.

I was worried Jansen would blow another game, and he did. Kenley blew the game in the ninth inning with one out. There was a challenge replay the Dodgers lost on an infield single from Pagan. Then Belt doubles over third to score Pagan and tied the game. Remember Jansen blew a game against the Tigers on the last home stand, and nearly blew a game in San Diego. His cutter is not cutting, and the rest of the bullpen is ineffective.

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Before the game the Dodgers activated Brian Wilson from the DL and optioned Paco Rodriguez to Albuquerque. Why? Because Paco has options. Here’s where these moves come back to bite. Every roster spot is important, including the last man in the bullpen. Games like these are examples of why. It’s games like these where the Dodgers are forced to use that last reliever, that makes me unbelievably angry. So after some more frustratingly bad offense, the game went to the bottom of the twelfth, where Brandon League effortlessly blew the tie. Crawford singled, move to second on a ground ball, and Hector Sanchez’s single off of Turner’s glove was the winner.

I have nothing further to say about this game. I’m unsurprisingly aggravated. Read on if you’re a glutton for punishment. Here’s the lowlights.

The Dodgers don’t score in the top of the first. Dee Gordon makes Lincecum work with an eight pitch at-bat, but his slow roller to first is the first out. Carl Crawford grounds out to short, as one Crawford throws out another. Hanley Ramirez strokes a two-out single to right, but Adrian Gonzalez’s soft liner to second ends the inning.

Josh Beckett has a nice easy breezy 123 bottom of the first inning. He gets Angel Pagan on a check-swing strikeout for the first out. He then whiffs Brandon Belt on a fastball at the knees for out number two, and Pablo Sandoval grounds out to Gordon to end the inning. No score after one.

The Dodgers take the lead in the top of the second. After Yasiel Puig flies out to center, and Andre Ethier grounds out, Juan Uribe smacks a solo home run into the left field seats to put the Dodgers on top 1-0.

In the bottom of the second, Buster Posey softly grounds to third, and Hutner Pence also grounds out. However Beckett plunks Michael Morse in the elbow. Then Beckett makes an errant pick-off throw that rolls into the Dodger bullpen, as Morse goes all the way to third. Beckett then whiffs Brandon Crawford and strands Morse at third. The error turns out to be meaningless.

Lincecum whiffs the side in the top of the third. (Beckett, Gordon, and Crawford). In the bottom of the third, a Brandon Hicks long fly to center is the first out. Beckett walks Lincecum for some reason. Then Lincecum makes a costly Tootblan. Pagan hit a shallow pop fly into right, and the Dodgers easily double up Lincecum, as he had ran off into la-la land. Dodgers lead 1-0 after three frames.

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The Dodgers load the bases with one out in the top of the fourth, but in a very typical Dodger way don’t score anything. Gonzalez singles to right, extending his hitting streak to ten games, and then consecutive singles from Puig and Ethier load the bases. But Uribe and Fedex whiff and the Dodgers leave the bases loaded. However the boys in blue still lead 1-0.

The Giants load the bases too in the bottom of the fourth, and half-innings are almost identical. Brandon Belt singles, and moves to second on Sandoval’s grounder. Posey walks, and Hunter Pence singles through the hole to load the bases. Morse battles Beckett and loses, whiffing on a called third strike, and Brandon Crawford grounds to third to get Beckett and the Dodgers out of the jam. Like the Dodgers the Giants do not score. 1-0 Dodgers after four frames.

The Dodgers don’t score again in the top of the fifth. With one out, Dee Gordon reaches on a fielding error from Hicks. Carl Crawford’s looper to short is the second out. With Hanley at the plate, Gordon steals second. That’s Gordon’s MLB leading tenth steal. But Hanley flies out to center for the third out.

Then Beckett has a full blown flustery walkapalooza in the bottom of the fifth, resulting in the Giants once again loading the bases, but once again leaving them loaded without scoring. Hicks walks, and advances to second after Lincecum sacrifices him over. Pagan flies out, but Belt and Sandoval walk, loading the bases. The Dodgers have a meeting on the mound, and despite Chris Withrow warming up in the bullpen, they decide to leave Beckett in to face Buster Posey with the bases loaded. Beckett gets Posey to fly to center and the Dodgers are out of it again.

David Huff takes the mound and retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the sixth. Chris Withrow takes over for Beckett in the bottom of the sixth, and both starters are now out of the game. But the Giants tie it up with some help from some sloppy Dodger defense. Pence singles to right, and Morse reaches on a throwing error from Hanley on a routine grounder to short. That should have been a force, but now there is runners at first and second. There’s a wild pitch from Withrow that sends Morse to third. Crawford’s sacrifice fly to center scores Pence to tie the game at 1-1. Juan Perez comes in the game to pinch-run for Morse, and is immediately thrown out trying to steal second on a great throw from Fedex! Withrow whiffs pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza for the third out.

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In the top of the seventh, Uribe doubles into the left field corner off of Jean Machi. Fedex successfully sacrifices Uribe to third. With one out, Matt Kemp pinch-hits for Withrow’s spot and draws a walk. Bruce Bochy goes to the bullpen to bring in lefty killer Javy Lopez to pitch to Gordon and Crawford. Mattingly counters with righty Justin Turner. The move pays off as Turner lines a single up the middle to score Uribe, and the Dodgers take the lead 2-1! Crawford flies out to Pagan, but Kemp tags up and goes to third. Two outs now, and Bochy goes to the bullpen again, this time bringing in right hander Juan Gutierrez, who retires Hanley to end the inning.

J.P. Howell enters the game in the bottom of the seventh, and Turner and Kemp remain in the game at their respective positions of center field and second base. There’s a check-swing on Pagan and he’s called out. Belt singles into center, but Sandoval fouls out. Mattingly goes back to the bullpen and calls in right hander Chris Perez to pitch to Posey. Perez wins the battle by getting Posey to hit into a force to end the inning.

In the top of the eighth, after Gonzo lined out to left, Puig triples into the gap. But Ethier whiffs,and Uribe softly taps out to the box, and the Dodgers waste Puig’s triple.

In the bottom of the eighth, Pence singles over Turner’s head. Gregor Blanco then pinch-hits for Perez, and walks. Now the Dodgers are in trouble. Brian Wilson starts to warm in the Dodger’s bullpen, although they don’t need him this time. Because the Dodger’s Perez whiffs Brandon Crawford, and gets Hicks to ground into an inning ending 5-4-3 double play! Dodgers still lead 2-1 after eight frames.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (right) signals that he is safe after sliding into home plate during the ninth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Gutierrez stays out to pitch the top of the ninth. With one out, Kemp singles, and steals second, but Turner and Van Slyke whiff.

Move to the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers leading 2-1. Enter Kenley Jansen for another save opportunity.

He blows away pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez for the first out. Annoying Pagan reaches on an infield single that deflected off of Jansen’s leg, and here we go. Then Belt doubles over third base down the line and Pagan scores the tying run. Jansen has blown another one. He does whiff Sandoval for the second out. The Dodgers intentionally walk Posey to go after Pence. Jansen gets him to pop out to right, and we’re headed for extra innings.

Sergio Romo retires Hanley and Gonzo in the top of the tenth. But Puig walks. Of course Ethier pops out, and we go to the bottom of the tenth still tied at 2-2.

The bottom of the tenth is wild, but the Dodgers get out of it by the skin of their teeth, despite a replay challenge that does not go their way. Jamey Wright, now on the mound can’t handle Blanco’s comebacker, as his throw to first appears to beat a head first sliding Blanco. The first base umpire rules him out. But Bochy asks for a challenge and the New York office overturns the call and rules him safe. Crawford reaches on a bunt single, and Hicks sacrifices the runners to second and third. The Dodgers then bring in Ethier from left field to go with five infielders. With one out, Wright walks Sanchez to load the bases. But Pagan pops out to Hanley, and Belt flies out to Ethier, and we move to the eleventh.

Santiago Casilla pitches the top of the eleventh. Uribe leads-off with a single to left, but he’s doubled up on Fedex’s failed bunt attempt. Kemp doubles into the corner, and that bunt attempt was super costly for the Dodgers. Turner grounds back to the box, and we go on.

Wright is left in for the bottom of the eleventh. Gonzo makes a great stop on Sandoval’s grounder down the line, and feeds Wright covering the bag just in time for the out. But then Joaquin Arias singles. Then Wright gets Pence to hit into a double play, and we’re going to the twelfth.

The Giants use their eighth pitcher in the top of the twelfth, right hander Yusmeiro Petit. They are now out of pitchers. He whiffs Figgins looking for the first out. Hanley doubles over Sandoval’s head, just inside the chalk down the left field line. The Giants then intentionally walk Gozo, which puts runners at first and second for Puig. Yasiel hits a fly ball to deep right, allowing Hanley to tag up to third. Ethier grounds out to second, and the Dodgers can’t score.

Brandon League comes in for the bottom of the twelfth, and we pray. Blanco flies out. But Crawford singles. Hicks’ grounder to third looks like a double play, but the ball bounces out of Uribe’s glove and he can only get the out at first. League uncorks a wild pitch, sending Crawford to third. But that matters not, as Hector Sanchez singles off of Turner’s glove, and that’s it. The Dodgers lose to the Giants in 12 innings, by a final score of 3-2.

That makes three losses in four games to the Giants. Both teams are now tied for first place with identical 9-5 records. When are the Dodgers going to wake up? They’re not playing Arizona anymore. The two clubs will battle again tomorrow night at 7:15 PM. Paul Maholm faces Ryan Vogelsong in game two.