The Dodgers’ bats were completely silent in game one. Bostons’ were not.
Scott Kazmir has given Dodger fans plenty to be upset about this season. He’s had his share of extremely solid starts, but he lacks consistency in that aspect and it seems like every time he has one of those starts where it seems like he’s figured it out, he has a couple clunkers.
This was a clunker. However, this was not a start to be mad about. Kazmir gave up five runs in 5.2 innings back in May. He gave up three runs in four innings against the Brewers in June. In July, he gave up three runs in three innings against the Padres. Those are starts to be mad about.
Boston is a team full of sluggers, so it shouldn’t be very surprising that Kazmir gave up four runs in the first four innings. It was slightly more frustrating that three of the four runs came off the bat of Sandy Leon (sac fly, two-run homer), but this isn’t a lineup that you should expect a pitcher to shut down. Mookie Betts got his, and there’s nothing wrong with that since he’s one of the best players in the AL.
Kazmir was pulled with one out in the fifth after he put two runners on. Josh Fields made his first appearance ever at Dodger Stadium and immediately got a ground ball to end the threat and put an end to Kazmir’s forgettable night.
Meanwhile, the offense couldn’t get anything going against Steven Wright. They saw a knuckleballer earlier this year and scored four runs against R.A. Dickey in Toronto, but couldn’t figure out Wright’s knuckleball.
It was one of those games we’re all-too familiar with, as the ineffectiveness of the pitching didn’t really matter considering how poor of a showing the offense put forth. Wright got high strike calls, which makes facing a knuckleballer that much more tough. However, he dominated the Dodgers, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out nine. He didn’t throw more than 16 pitches in any inning, so it was a combination of being on his A-game and the Dodgers having a terrible approach.
The 4-0 lead was more than enough, but Boston kept it going in the later innings. Jesse Chavez made his home debut and got through his first inning rather easily, but struggled hard in the eighth. He gave up a homer to Travis Shaw and then gave up two singles and an intentional walk to load the bases. Leon, who is apparently the greatest hitter in baseball history, missed a grand slam by about a foot. With only one out, the runners waited to make sure the ball wouldn’t be caught, so only one run scores. J.P. Howell inherited the bases loaded and got a likely double-play ball, but Chase Utley let it go through his legs. It was very much that kind of night. Betts added another RBI single to make it 9-0, which ended up being the final score.
Over a 162-game season, these games will happen. Rarely will three of “those nights” happen in the span of four days, but the Dodgers are definitely in a funk. This won’t last, much like their stretch a few weeks ago when they could do no wrong wouldn’t last.
It’s only one game, and the Dodgers didn’t lose ground in the division. As awful and inexcusable as this game was, all it means is the Dodgers aren’t one back. They probably should be ahead in the division right now, but it could be a lot worse with a little less than two months left.