A Maddening Loss by the Dodgers
Self-immolation. Defenestration. As the clock kept ticking through pitching change after pitching change during the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, these thoughts creep into your head.
I was going to give an exclusive interview to A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com and leave a suicide note readily available, but then I realized how selfish I was being in screwing around with other writers’ deadlines. Yeah. I’m considerate.
So here I am. I hung around to see three D-backs pitch the bottom of the ninth and mercifully end the game at 10:43 in front whatever remained of a 30,616 crowd (I estimate 1,000). Blood and guts were avoided, only the players and managers were to blame for the busted deadlines.
Things were going all right. Ted Lilly was working on a one-hit shutout for the Dodgers heading into the sixth inning. Thanks to Matt Kemp’s 33rd homer of the season in the first inning off of Joe Saunders, the Dodgers had the 1-0 lead.
Willie Bloomquist led off the inning with a bloop single that landed behind first baseman James Loney. Aaron Hill doubled him home to tie the game 1-1.
After Justin Upton intentionally walked and Miguel Montero popped up five feet behind home plate, Hill stole third base on a 1-1 pitch to Paul Goldschmidt which prompted Mattingly to pull the immediate plug on Lilly.
“I wanted to try to go right-handed there and take a shot at the punch-out there,” Mattingly said. “I thought it was a good matchup.”
I beg to differ. Guerrier came into the game allowing 16 of 38 inherited runners to score, the fourth most in the National League. His 42% rate of allowing the inherited runners to score is among the 15 worst amongst relievers in the National League.
“One thing Rick [Honeycutt, pitching coach] talks about with pitchers and guys coming out of the pen is you want that first hitter,” Mattingly said.
I’ll give them that one - Guerrier had retired 46 of the 64 first batters he had faced, a fairly good percentage.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen tonight. Guerrier gave up an RBI single to Goldschmidt, and it went downhill from there.
“Nothing seemed to work out tonight,” Mattingly said. “Everything he tried to do went the opposite way.”
Guerrier walked Chris Young to load the bases and gave up another RBI single to Ryan Roberts.
Despite the inherited runners stat, which Mattingly admitted he wasn’t fully aware of the magnitude, Mattingly continued to be confident in Guerrier in those situations.
“Matt’s the kind of guy you like with guys on base. You feel like he’s going to make pitches.
“I look at more of his stuff and how he’s throwing the ball. It seems like in the second half he’s throwing the ball really well for us.”
Like Mattingly said, unfortunately for Guerrier nothing seemed to be working. He was lifted after that single to Roberts for Scott Elbert who promptly gave up a two-run single to Gerardo Parra for the D-backs 5-1 lead.
Lilly was given his first loss in his last four starts. However to be honest I don’t know how Lilly felt about being taken out of the game in the middle of an at-bat.
“In these situations you have to look at yourself in the mirror and figure what you can control and just try to get better at that,” Lilly said.
I guess that was disappointment?
The Dodgers fall to 72-74, 4 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants for second place in the division.
And to add insult to injury, the Dodgers also lose their Vice President of Communications Josh Rawitch to the D-backs after the season is over. We’ll try this again tomorrow.
Oakland Athletics defeat LA Angels 6-3.
LA Angels at Oakland Athletics. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
Arizona Diamondbacks at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.