Blue Moon for Blue Dodgers
Not even in a blue moon can the Dodgers get a win against an NL West team. The Dodgers came from behind to tie the game in the sixth but lost it in the 11th inning 4-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"We're all frustrated trying to win games," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "We're in a pennant race. There's frustration from needing to do that."
Mattingly added later, "Each loss is a stinger. You can't get away from that at this time of the year."
Yf they say the mone is blewe
We must believe that it is true.
This is allegedly the first known utterance of the "blue moon" in a 1528 poem "Rede Me and Be Not Wroth" according to various sources on the interweb. Most people know the phrase blue moon from the various covers of the Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame) and Lorenz Hart song written in 1934.
The song gives thanks to the blue moon, the luck of the stars, for seeing the desperation of the singer and sending the singer a love. The blue moon certainly saw the Dodgers without a win in their ledger. Certainly the blue moon heard the prayers, but it came through with nothing.
A team that went 39-33 against the NL West last season the Dodgers currently sit at 24-29 with the completion of this game including losing 14 of the 20 since the All Star break. Before the game manager Don Mattingly had a simple answer as to why it's gone to crap: "We haven't played good enough to win those games. We should be better."
After Monday's loss Mattingly held a 15-minute closed-door meeting where he admitted he had to naturally amplify his voice in trying to get his team to play better.
"You're hoping that with 30 games left that there's a different level there, that there's a level that's elevated," Mattingly explained. "It's not just come-get-loose-and-go-through-the-motions, ho-hum it's another day. It almost has to be, 'We have to have this game.' It's got to almost feel like a playoff game everyday to you. That's really the feeling that we have to get to."
Mattingly wanted to ensure that all of the new players were on the same page with the rest of the team.
Things looked about as dismal as status quo. When Andre Ethier lost Chris Johnson's fly ball in the lights in the second inning that was scored an RBI triple, another loss seemed inevitable. Then D-back starter Trevor Cahill singled home a run in the fifth inning off of Dodger starter Aaron Harang and scored on Aaron Hill's double for the 3-0 lead.
Little did anyone know a rally was in store much less what a rally looked like.
With two outs in the fifth inning, pinch hitter Nick Punto hit a grounder to the shortstop. Somehow despite making an ill-advised slide to first base, he wound up being safe by a hair. The Dodgers had the bases loaded with two outs, and the 37,622 yelled their heads off for the hopes of Mark Ellis not ending this rally.
Mark Ellis took a 2-2 sinker that stayed up in the zone and lined it to left field to score two runs.
The Dodgers to apply the pressure in the sixth inning. After Matt Kemp worked a one-out walk, he stole second base during Hanley Ramirez's at-bat who wound up flying to right field.
The D-backs brought in left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski to pitch to Ethier. Ethier atoned for his earlier gaffe while showing he is impervious to such switches by popping up a single to left field that scored Kemp to tie the game.
It was a battle of the bullpens from that point on, and with the lack of depth the Dodgers have it was no surprise they blinked first. Matt Guerrier who was just reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Thursday pitched the 11th inning, his first appearance since April 18. Jason Kubel welcomed Guerrier back with a leadoff homer.
"That's probably not the way we wanted to put him in the game," Mattingly admitted. "But his stuff was good." Guerrier did strike out two to retire the side.
"You've just got to keep playing," Shane Victorino said. Victorino held his head high after the game choosing to focus on the positives: coming from behind; being a hit away from tying or winning the game.
"If we give 100 percent and come up short, that's all you can do."
Victorino did reiterate the message from the closed-door meetings. "Is tehre a sense of urgency that we've got to go in the right direction? Yes.
"You can't play anybody on paper. You still got to go out there and play. You've got to play the 27 outs. You've got to play a full game."
With the Major League rosters open to the 40-man roster beginning Saturday, it has been confirmed that catcher Tim Federowicz would be called up to the team. Mattingly also told reporters after the game a relief pitcher would be on the way, though no names were given.
Also the Dodgers didn't make any additional moves on the waiver wire. "This is what we're playing with," Mattingly said. "This is what it is."
With Kenley Jansen's status up in the air until Tuesday, the Dodgers are in quite some trouble with the bullpen. The offense hasn't come together yet.
Taking Victorino's approach on things, at least the Dodgers didn't lose any ground. But with the clock ticking and 29 games left in the season, the Dodgers need to make their move in the standings soon and not rely on some sort of Red Sox or Braves kind of collapse. Not in a blue moon.
"This thing is far from over," Mattingly chanted. No. It's close to being over, and no amount of money can buy the one thing the Dodgers really need: time.