Disastrous Eighth Inning Dooms Dodgers in 6-3 Loss to Milwaukee


Let’s hope the Dodgers miss the Brewers in the playoffs.

The force was not with the Dodgers on Star Wars night at Chavez Ravine as they let this one get away. The Dodgers were ahead 2-0 until a train wreck of an eighth inning gave the Brewers the Game 1 win.

Zack Greinke was battling his control the whole night, and he walked a season-high five batters and only made it through five innings. Even though Greinke didn’t allow a run and just two hits to Milwaukee, his abbreviated start put four innings of work on the shoulders of the beleaguered Dodger bullpen.

Oh and there was this:

Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon had great nights. Puig had three hits and two RBI which was nice to see after he struggled during the Atlanta series. Gordon had two hits, scored two runs and stole two bases helping to ignite the Dodgers in scoring two of their three runs.

Pedro Baez pitched very well in relief of Greinke, and he only allowed one walk and no hits through two innings of work. Most of the blame in that fateful eighth inning can be put on Jamey Wright‘s awful outing and Don Mattingly‘s poor bullpen management. Wright ended up allowing 5 runs on 4 hits in just 1/3 of an inning. Mattingly could have gone to his left-hander J.P. Howell who has been lights out this year when Lyle Overbay came up with the bases loaded, but he instead brought in notorious choker Brandon League.

Sure, League is a ground-ball inducer, but he is also unpredictable in high leverage situations. He struck out Weeks for the second out of the inning…good. Then Overbay hits the bases-clearing triple…bad. It was just a combination of poor pitching and questionable management.

Mattingly doesn’t necessarily have the best options out of the bullpen right now with Paco Rodriguez, Chris Perez, Paul Maholm, Chris Withrow, Onelki Garcia, etc. all injured this year, but certainly Howell would have been the best option at that very important point in the game. Don Mattingly said postgame he was essentially saving Howell for the ninth.

Dodgers 3 8 0

Brewers 6 9 1

WP- Kintzler (2-3)

LP- Wright (4-3)

S- Rodriguez (37)

Zack Greinke allows two singles in the top of the first to Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez, but Miguel Rojas and his slick fielding gets him out of the frame with two great defensive plays to retire Carlos Gomez and Scooter Gennett on grounders to short.

The Dodgers take an early 1-0 lead in the home half of the first off Jimmy Nelson. Dee Gordon reaches safely on a squib single to first. Jimmy Nelson fell down trying to get to the ball. Gordon, with his fluster factor, steals second (his 55th stolen base on the season), and he takes third after Lucroy throws the ball away into center field. Yasiel Puig promptly singles to left field, and Gordon brings in the run. Gonzo flies out. Matt Kemp draws a walk, and Nelson is struggling. Carl Crawford grounds into a force out, and Kemp is out at second while Dee moves over to third. CC steals second with Uribe at the plate. Uribe ends up striking out, but the Dodgers strike first and lead 1-0.

Greinke pitches a nice 1-2-3 inning in the second.

Zack Greinke, not sharp. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke collects a single off Nelson in the second, but he is able to easily retire A.J. Ellis, Miguel Rojas and Dee Gordon.

Greinke strikes out the side in the third as Nelson, Gomez and Ryan Braun all go down swinging.

In the bottom of the third, Gonzo singles with one out. Kemp grounds into a force out, and he ends up at second after Milwaukee botches a rundown on a pickoff. Vin Scully is annoyed, as he usually is when Major Leaguers can’t handle the routine rundown. It goes down as a stolen base for Kemp, his eighth on the season. Crawford grounds out to second to end the inning.

Zack Greinke escapes a self-imposed bases loaded jam in the fourth after he walks three consecutive batters with two outs. After walking Khris Davis, Mark Reynolds and Jean Segura, Greinke rears back to strike out Jimmy Nelson.

Uribe leads off the bottom of the fourth with a single up the middle. A.J. Ellis erases Uribe’s base hit by grounding into the dreaded double play. Rojas grounds out to short, and that’s that.

Greinke has been fighting the strike zone all night, but he gets through the fifth and only allows a two-out walk to Braun. That’s a season-high five walks.

Pinch-hitter Darwin Barney is hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the fifth for the Dodgers. Gordon grounds into a force out. With Puig at the plate, Gordon steals number 56. Puig then comes up with his second RBI single of the night, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead.

Zack Greinke pitched 5 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits with 6 strikeouts and 5 walks on 99 pitches.

Aug 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig (66) at bat in the third inning of the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Pedro Baez, who was just recalled when Hyun-jin Ryu was placed on the disabled list on Friday, will relieve Greinke in the top of the sixth. Baez sends the Brewers down in order thanks to a nice play by A.J. Ellis who catches a pop fly hit by Mark Reynolds in foul territory behind the plate for the final out.

Nelson shuts down the Dodgers in the bottom of the sixth.

Before the seventh commences, Uribe has to come out of the game with a hamstring issue. Justin Turner will take over at third base. Baez walks Segura to open the inning. Pinch-hitter and always annoying no matter what team he plays for, Gerardo Parra, pops out to Gordon. Carlos Gomez grounds into a double play. Segura is way out of the base line with his hand up as he slid into second base, and Dee’s throw hits his hand. Interference is called on Segura on the play.

Brandon Kintzler will take over for Jimmy Nelson in the bottom of the seventh. Dee Gordon singles, but with Puig at bat he is caught stealing second.

Jimmy Nelson pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk on 83 pitches.

Here’s where it gets ugly… Jamey Wright takes over for Baez in the top of the eighth. Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back singles with one out, and the tying runs are at first and second for Milwaukee. Scooter Gennett singles in Braun on a groundball to right field. Khris Davis proceeds to double to center field, and Ramirez comes in tying it up 2-2. The bases are loaded with one out. Don Mattingly will finally hook Wright who blew the 2-0 lead quickly and predictably. Brandon League will come in to try to put out the fire. League strikes out Rickie Weeks for the second out, but the damage is not even close to being done. Lyle Overbay proceeds to triple to the left field corner, and three runs score. After the bases clearing double the Brewers take a 5-2 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Yasiel Puig tries to spark a late-inning rally with a lead-off double to left field off lefty Will Smith. That’s Puig’s third hit of the night. Gonzo strikes out swinging. Matt Kemp hit one well to center field, but Carlos Gomez of course makes a nice sliding catch. Puig tags up and scores making it 5-3 Brewers. Crawford strikes out.

Carlos Frias will pitch the top of the ninth, and he immediately serves up a double to Lucroy. Lucroy tags up and advances to third on a fly out by Braun. Aramis is intentionally walked. Gennett singles in another run, and it’s 6-3 Milwaukee.

Francisco Rodriguez is in to shut the door on the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. Justin Turner is called out on strikes. A.J. and Rojas both ground out, and the Dodgers go down without a fight.

The Dodgers drop to 70-54 on the season. Luckily the Giants also blew their game to the Phillies in 10 innings, so the Dodgers remain 5 1/2 games ahead.  Clayton Kershaw will counter Yovani Gallardo for Game 2 on Saturday night.

Here’s something lighthearted to ease the pain: