Five Errors Cost Dodgers the Win
It was an inopportune time for the Dodgers to have a lazy Sunday afternoon. They just came off of a game where closer Kenley Jansen fell asleep on the mound forgetting to call timeout leading to the tying and winning runs to score with two outs in the top of the ninth. The Dodgers on Sunday committed a season-high five errors as the Padres won 7-2.
"We're a better defensive club that this," manager Don Mattingly said.
The slop started in the fourth inning after starter Chris Capuano gave up back-to-back singles to Logan Forsythe and Chase Headley to lead off. Carlos Quentin grounded to shortstop Juan Uribe who was playing in the position for the first time this season.
"Juan has no trouble catching the ball," Mattingly justified to reporters before the game. "Having said that, he'll probably kick a couple today."
Uribe didn't kick the ball. In fact he didn't make a horrible feed to second baseman Mark Ellis covering second. However Ellis had an awkward body position and threw the ball away scoring Forsythe.
Uribe made his own error in the fifth inning after sliding to get John Baker's ground single. He too threw the ball away for the error sending Baker to second base. Fortunately that one didn't come back to bite the Dodgers.
The slopfest came to a head in the seventh inning. Capuano looked to be cruising through yet another innning having not made more than 15 pitches in any one inning. In four pitches he got Quentin to fly out to right field and Yonder Alonso to fly out to center.
Three pitches later it looked like Capuano would get out of the inning getting Cameron Maybin to ground a ball to third base. But third baseman Jerry Hairston, Jr. threw the ball away prolonging the inning for his first error at third base this season.
A single to Everth Cabrera, a walk to John Baker and things weren't looking pretty as the Dodgers were clinging to the slim 2-1 lead.
Again it looked like Capuano would get out of the inning when pinch-hitter hit the ball sharply to Hairston. But yet again Hairston threw the ball away, this time into the stands for a two-base error. Two runs came in and Capuano went out as did the air in Dodger Stadium with the Padres 3-2 lead.
"All day it was hard to get a grip on the ball," Hairston conceded. "For whatever reason that one inning it was tough to find that grip. It just didn't happen."
Hairston refused to let it get him down. When told that those were his first errors this season at third base, he joked, "I'm glad that's out of the way."
Capuano also didn't let it get to him. "I was really trying to bear down and make a pitch there. It's a tough play over there at third. Stuff like that happens."
The Padres wanted to make sure there was no returning for the Dodgers. Alexi Amarista hit a pinch-hit single off of reliever Josh Lindblom to score one more run in the inning, and Chase Headley hit a solo homer off of Lindblom to lead off the eighth inning.
The slop didn't end there. With Jamey Wright in to pitch the ninth, he muffed a sacrifice bunt by Amarista. Quentin hit a sacrifice fly and Alonso hit an RBI single to add two more unearned runs to the Padres tally.
Seven total errors, a season-high five Dodger errors the most since tying a club record of seven in 1995 against Montreal, six unearned runs for the Padres. And the Dodgers fall 1 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants.
This is not the way the Dodgers wanted to start the second half of the season. The team from top to bottom pointed to the second half as a new beginning with Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier back in the lineup fully healthy.
In two consecutive days, lazy play has contributed to two losses.
"It's disappointing," Capuano said. "Last night was a heartbreaker. They were agressive and caught us napping. Today the same thing. I felt like we had that game in hand."
But with this group of Dodgers there's always the light at the end of the tunnel.
"It's frustrating, but at the same time you've got to feel good to have Matt and Andre in the three- and four-spot going forward here," Capuano continued. "I still feel good about us offensive and defensively. That's the bright spot. Two tough losses, but we'll go after the Phillies tomorrow."
Just as a note Capuano graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University with a degree in economics.
Nonetheless to start off the second half of the season giving up 15 runs in three games to the worst offense in the National League, there are some big problems. It's widely known that the Dodgers are looking for starting pitching, namely Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs and Cole Hamels of the Phillies. They're also in the market for a third baseman, notably the Padres Chase Headley and Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers.
If Chad Billingsley is going to be out for an extended period of time and the Dodgers are serious on making a postseason run, they cannot rely on a minor-league arm to help carry them to October.
Chad Billingsley Update. An MRI showed that Billingsley has inflammation of the right elbow. He will have further testing done on Monday.
With Mattingly peeved that Billingsley concealed the pain to the staff, Billingsley admitted that he's felt the pain for a while.
"A couple of weeks ago," Billingsley estimated on when he first felt it. "But I've thrown through it and felt fine."
Like a typical athlete Billingsley didn't feel this was a serious injury. "I wanted to throw today. I'm pretty optimistic that it's nothing too serious."