Another Loss for the Dodgers
The Dodgers had plenty of opportunities to run away with the game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the bottom of the fourth inning the Dodgers had Andre Ethier on first Mark Ellis on third with one out. Juan Rivera hit a grounder to third base, and Ellis running on contact got into a rundown. Catcher Carlos Ruiz had the ball in his non-glove hand and tagged Ellis with his glove. Third base umpire Mike Winters looking only at the tag saw the ball wasn't in the glove and called Ellis safe. However home plate umpire Bill Miller ruled Ellis out on the basepaths.
The Dodgers scored no runs.
In the sixth inning Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off with a double lined to left field. Mark Ellis followed with a grounder to second baseman Chase Utley sending Hairston to third base. First baseman Ryan Howard bobbled the feed by Utley, but first base umpire Wally Bell still called Ellis out.
After a conference of all four umpires, Ellis was correctly called safe.
Runners on the corners and no outs for Matt Kemp with the Dodgers trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning had all the makings for Matt Kemp Time. Naturally he grounded into a double play. It scored Hairston, but the anticlimax was palpable in the crowd of 32,238.
In the seventh inning back-to-back singles had Juan Rivera on second and James Loney on first with no outs. Luis Cruz showing bunt insteaded grounded into a force with Loney forced out at second. A.J. Ellis struck out for the second out and pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu flew out to centerfield. If not for a wild pitch during Abreu's at-bat, the Dodgers would have been scoreless.
In the bottom of the ninth with pinch runner Tony Gwynn, Jr. in scoring position with two outs, aside from backup catcher Matt Treanor the only bench player left for the Dodgers was Adam Kennedy. In he came to pinch hit for Luis Cruz. Kennedy popped up to second to end the game.
So what could have been a bevvy of runs for the Dodgers instead was a 3-2 loss. Despite the disappointment Mattingly, as he always does, looked on the positive side.
"This is more our style," manager Don Mattingly said comparing it to Sunday's slopfest. "To be able to keep these guys down to three [runs] and keep ourselves in it, this is going to be our style of game that we're going to have to win."
Of course the errors from Sunday crept in to this game.
Shortstop of the day Luis Cruz dropped a Shane Victorino grounder in the first inning. But the knee-slappingest goof came in the third inning with Victorino on first. Chase Utley hit a sharp grounder to first baseman James Loney who tagged first base. Victorino got into a run down on the way to second base. Loney threw the ball to Cruz as Victorino was running right to Cruz.
As Mark Ellis ran to cover first base, Cruz prematurely threw the ball to Ellis. Loney never ran to second base to cover. With no one at second base, Victorino reached safely.
"More than anything James had got to follow his throw," Mattingly commented.
It was amazing that the miscues didn't cost the Dodgers the game.
"Neither one of those plays cost us anything," Mattingly added. "From that point on we played some pretty good baseball."
Mattingly also noted that there was a defeated air in the dugout during Sunday's game. He was more satisfied with the mood in the dugout Monday night.
"There was a feeling tonight that we were going to win the game. You can just feel it. When we play with that kind of energy we're going to be fine."
The Dodgers old friend Juan "Slappy McPopup" Pierre made his triumphant return to Dodger Stadium by neither slapping the ball nor popping up the ball — he lined a single up the middle that scored Carlos Ruiz to give the Phillies the quick lead in the second inning.
Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard hit solo homers each in the third and fourth innings respectively that sent Eovaldi the losing pitcher of the game.
"It's hard to pitch to those guys when you're behind in the count," Eovaldi said.
With the Giants idle, the Dodgers fell to two games behind the Giants in the division.
Billingsley Update. Because his arm was out of position in the first MRI, Billingsley had a second MRI on Monday that confirmed an inflammation of the flexor muscle in his right elbow.
"Nice MRI today," Mattingly commented before the game. "Actually a good MRI. He's going to play catch today, see where he's at, then make a decision later on."
Mattingly noted that it was unlikely Billingsley would make the start on Tuesday. "We haven't talked, but we're kind of looking at a different direction," Mattingly said.
The direction most likely will be calling up Stephen Fife from Triple-A Albuquerque and sending down Josh Wall. Although John Ely is arguably the best pitcher in Triple-A, the organization is reluctant to make changes to the 40-man roster for a short-term move.
More on this when something official is released.