Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blown save, blown opportunity

It's times like this that Joe Torre may be questioning his desire to move on from the Yankees.

Given a 4-3 lead in the 9th inning, and facing the 6-7-8 hitters in the Pittsburgh Pirates' lineup, Takashi Saito could not slam the door shut as Nate McLouth hit a 3-run shot to take a 6-4 lead. The Dodgers had a chance to make some noise, but the top 3 in the order of Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp could not reach base.

The Dodgers were scratching and clawing all game long to get a lead from the Pirates after Jose Bautista launched a 2-run homer into left field in the 1st for a quick 2-0 lead. It was back-and-forth until the 7th when the Dodgers took a 4-3 lead thanks to RBI singles by James Loney and Blake DeWitt. It wouldn't be enough, though.

Hiroki Kuroda settled down after a rough first inning for another good start. He finished at 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. That should be good enough to win from the #4 starter, especially considering the Pirates are supposed to suck. But, credit goes to Zach Duke, who worked around 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings to only surrender 3 runs. Once again, the Dodgers are their own worst enemy, leaving 15 men on base, and 8 to end an inning. No matter who you play, that's just not going to get it done.

2 struggling players may have seen some light at the end of the tunnel. Russell Martin hit #6 and was 2-4 with a run. But here's the shocking part... Anduw Jones hit a TRIPLE. Yes, you read that right. He also had an RBI groundout. He seems like the key to all of this runners left on base problems. If he had been hitting from the get-go, I would think they'd have a better record. Actually, they definitely would have a better record. They need his bat big time.

I'll give a mulligan to Saito because it's not like he blows many saves. It's more of a rarity to see that happen to him. He'll be fine. Still, it's a bad loss to blow a lead at home against one of the worst teams in the league. In the packed NL West, games cannot be handed away like that, plain and simple.

Hong-Chih Kuo will get the ball tonight instead of struggling Esteban Loaiza against Matt Morris. This could mean the return of Juan Pierre to get the righty-lefty matchup, and since Matt Kemp was only 1-5 last night.

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