Saturday, April 13, 2013

Woeful offense snoozes their way to a loss

Not even the great Clayton Kershaw can overcome what is already shaping up to be a mediocre offense.

The Dodgers had six hits, no runs, and no win on Friday night.  Patrick Corbin looked like Greg Maddux in completely dismantling them, 3-0.  Throw in Zack Greinke getting shelved for at least eight weeks, and it wasn't the greatest night for them.

Or in LA at all, as Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles against the Warriors.  What a crappy night all around in the City of Angels.

The fourth was a telling inning.  The Dodgers loaded the bases on walks to Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis, and an infield single from Justin Sellers.  That brought up Kershaw, who grounded out.  The DBacks got their first couple of hitters on, and Martin Prado scored on Paul Goldschmidt's double play ball, making it 1-0.

Matt Kemp finally got a single with one out in the eighth off of David Hernandez.  He went to second on a wild pitch, then liked that so much he did it again to third.  Adrian Gonzalez walked for runners on first and third.  Carl Crawford pinch-hit and struck out, then Andre Ethier grounded out to blow a great chance to tie the game.

Wouldn't you know it, the DBacks made them pay for it right away.  Kershaw stayed on and got Chad Pennington to fly to left, but the next three hitters reached: a single by Jason Kubel, a bunt single by A.J. Pollack, and a walk to Gerardo Parra.  Don Mattingly brought the hook after that.

Shawn Tolleson made his first appearance with the bases loaded and one out, which is no doubt a tough spot to be in.  But, tough spot or not, he was flat out awful in walking home two straight runs.  J.P. Howell had to put out the fire with two straight outs.

The Dodgers did put together a bit of a threat in the ninth against closer J.J. Putz.  Nick Punto singled with one out, and Skip Schumaker followed with a walk.  Putz was having a hard time finding the strike zone... so naturally, Jerry Hairston grounded into a double play to end the game.

Kershaw did all he could, but even he has nights where he appears somewhat human.  He lasted 7 1/3 innings for six hits, three runs, three walks, and nine strikeouts.  One more strikeout and he'll join the 1,000 K Club.  But I'm guessing he's not concerned with that now, and is more ticked at himself for letting the game slip away in the eighth.  He still has a 1.16 ERA after three starts.  I think that's pretty good.

What's not pretty, or any good at all, are the bats.  It all starts with Kemp, who went 1-for-4 to RAISE his average to .189.  We all know he won't continue to do this poorly all year, but the concern right now is that he's trying to hit a home run every swing.  The one time he didn't was when he singled in the eighth.  Mattingly won't take him out of the #3 hole, so we all have to hope he gets this thing figured out soon.

Not that anybody else helped the cause, either.  Hairston got the start for Crawford in the leadoff spot and went 0-for-5 with a DP.  Ethier was 0-for-4 with a DP.  Adrian Gonzalez was 0-for-3 with a walk.  The only guys to reach base more than once were Uribe with two walks and Ellis with a hit and walk.  And that is it.

It's no secret by now that the Dodgers badly need a healthy Hanley Ramirez back.  They have so many dead spots in the order right now, his bat alone will help ease that burden.  There's not much to fear about these guys right now.  Kemp is still feared, but as long as he's swinging like this, opposing teams will think they can get him out.  Crawford and Gonzalez are the only two I'd be careful with.  The rest are fair game.

The Dodgers will send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound on Saturday night to take on Ian Kennedy.  Let's hope they put up at least a one-spot.  That's more than Kershaw got.

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