I would laugh if this wasn't all so pathetic.
For the third straight game, the Braves made all the clutch plays late, the Dodgers made none of them, and you can just guess which team ended up winning. A 2-1 lead in the eighth turned into a 5-2 loss, all aided by more awful bullpen work and errors galore. That's a sweep for the Braves as the Dodgers fall to eight games under .500.
Young Matt Magill got the call, and like the other starting pitchers this series, was actually spotted an early lead. After a rain delay of nearly two hours, Carl Crawford doubled leading off against Mike Minor. Mark Ellis made his return from the 15-day DL and grounded him over to second. Matt Kemp struck out, of course, but Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single to go up 1-0.
The defense was actually good in the bottom half, as Magill escaped thanks to a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play. That would pretty much mark the end of the good defense, so savor the moment, Dodger fans.
Gonzalez was again responsible for driving in a run in the third. Crawford walked, and an out later, Kemp actually doubled for two on. A sac-fly RBI by Gonzalez to deep center made it 2-0.
The Braves got one back in the fifth. It started on an error by Nick Punto at short, as Andrelton Simmons beat it out. To Punto's defense, that probably should've been a hit all along, so we'll let that slide. With two outs, Minor kept the inning alive with a single, and Jordan Schafer's RBI single made it 2-1.
Magill was chased in the sixth when Justin Upton singled leading off. J.P. Howell got to an 0-2 count on Freddie Freeman, then had to wait out another rain delay. When back, he got Freeman to ground to second, which was then booted by Ellis for two on. Ronald Belisario had to get pinch-hitter Evan Gattis to ground into a forceout to end it. Yes, Belisuckio actually did something right.
Like the other two games in this series, the offense went into hibernation after the early going. Poor Scott Van Slyke had to leave the game after fouling two straight pitches off his left ankle. That pretty much sums up the Dodgers' entire season so far - painful.
Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, and Kenley Jansen all pitched in the seventh and held the Braves scoreless. No thanks to Rodriguez, however, as he beaned Jayson Heyward in his only batter faced. Jansen K'd Upton for the last out.
There would be no such luck in the eighth, as defense and bullpen just completely melted down. Nine hitters came to the plate as the Braves took apart the atrocious bullpen. Jansen gave up a hit and a walk. Brandon League was awful, just awful. Four runs scored off of him, though it needs to be pointed out that there was a big error in this inning.
Who committed the error? That's right, Mr. Championship Experience himself, Juan Uribe. He couldn't handle a simple bunt to load the bases. An RBI single by Gerald Laird tied it, and a sac-fly RBI by Ramiro Pena gave them the lead. Chris Johnson added an RBI single, and Schafer a perfect suicide squeeze bunt just for fun.
Craig Kimbrel got the save, striking out Kemp, Gonzalez, and Andre Ethier. Again, it's symbolic.
The Dodgers have suffered many embarrassing loses this year, but this one might top them all. Three errors on simple ground balls. Three hits, and none after the third. Four runs given up by the bullpen. All three batters striking out to end it. Those are just brutal stats.
But, that's life as a Dodger right now - just brutal. Almost everything about them is terrible. The offense, defense, bullpen, and managing. Yes, it's easy to point the blame all at Mattingly, but it's not like he's the one who makes all the pitches. But he also is the one making the calls to the bullpen, and it seems to rarely work. That's where he gets the blame.
About the only positive to take away from this is another good start from the rotation. Magill went five innings for four hits, one unearned run, three walks, and eight strikeouts. His reward? Another no-decision. He still doesn't have a record after four starts. He did lower his ERA by nearly two runs, which shows how good he was today. Alas, it didn't matter.
Let's see if management wakes up and does something with this horrendous bullpen. They simply cannot keep running the same clowns out there, only to watch them get squashed day in and day out. Either way, they're off to Milwaukee for three starting Monday. Clayton Kershaw gets the call. Expect him to be dominant for eight innings... only to watch the 'pen blow it in the ninth. Write it down.