Lets play “guess the Jim Johnson meltdown!”
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Okay the debut still feels pretty good, before we get to a protestable call, and a bullpen that is somehow not using it’s best relievers in September in the highest leverage situations, we have to talk about Corey Seager. The consensus top 3 prospect made his first ever start in a Dodger uniform and was EXCITING, he went 2-4 with a double in his second plate appearance and a go ahead RBI single to put the Dodgers up 5-4 in his 3rd plate appearance, he looked like he was in control for the entire game, and made a great play on an awkward hop to get Matt Kemp out in a high leverage situation.
I made this “joke” earlier
And… well… let’s just say that 8:59 was a long time ago. In between then was a hilariously blown call, if you don’t believe me, lets check in on twitter! Yikes! And a total bullpen meltdown, the blown call trickled into Pedro Baez‘s explosion, he allowed a single, and after a Jedd Gyorko “double play” ball, Justin Upton was called safe at second base, even though everybody including Justin Upton knew he wasn’t safe. Upton came around to score to make it 7-5 in the 6th.
J.P. Howell then gave up a Hanley Ramirez level bomb to Yangervis Solarte (lmao) in the 7th to make it 7-6, and the bad vibes were everywhere at this point, the lead was unholdable, it felt. That Jim Johnson got out of the inning after facing Matt Kemp was a small miracle that was not to be tolerated.
Johnson got Kemp out on 2 pitches and preserved a 1 run lead going into the 8th inning, and he was inexplicably left in to start the 8th.
Johnson walked Dodger killer Justin Upton on 4 pitches, and Jedd Gyorko made sure there were no bullpen shenanigans, hitting an absolute dong off of the much maligned Dodger pitcher, putting the Padres up 8-7. We should probably have a looooong talk about how using Jim Johnson, who’s given up 17 runs in 11 innings as a Dodger, to face the middle of the order in a SEPTEMBER game while fighting to clinch the division early to rest everybody is an inexplicable move, and it was totally unacceptable, but for god’s sake, Johnson has to get outs at some point, and if you don’t believe he can do that, then designate him!
At this point there is a serious argument that one (both?) of Joel Peralta/Johnson should be DFA’d immediately so a Chris Anderson/Jharel Cotton/Jose De Leon/Julio Urias type pitcher can come up and throw straight fire out of the bullpen and fix so many issues that cannot be fixed by the guys in the pen. OR The Dodgers could promote someone like Adam Liberatore who owns a 3.17 FIP in limited action and absolutely looks like a better option than J.P. Howell who looks GASSED at this point.
I dunno, but expanded rosters should mean that every resource is exhausted to figure out the gaping hole the Dodgers have in that department. Long story short Mat Latos is bad and should have pitched longer to avoid overtaxing a bad bullpen. The bullpen (still) has some serious questions that may or may not be answerable. The offense showed up which was nice, and the upgrade from Rollins to Seager is very, very evident and quite nice. The Dodgers have a right to be PISSED
But this is a lot easier to take when the magic number is down to 23 cause the Giants got smashed tonight, so the world isn’t done at least.