Sunday, May 18, 2014

Early life for Dodgers quickly fizzles out

After Adrian Gonzalez hit a monster two-run shot in the third to take a 3-1 over the Diamondbacks, I was thinking maybe this was a sign that the Dodgers were ready to put Saturday's beatdown behind them and win the series.


Instead, Dan Haren coughed it up thanks to a couple of DBacks' homers, and the Dodgers dropped Sunday's finale 5-3.  Oh, and let's not forget the first run scored on a throwing error by Hanley Ramirez, his team-leading seventh already.  Basically, he evened himself out after a long solo shot in the first.

I'm not saying the Dodgers didn't try, because it's not like they just loafed around out there.  But I am saying that the two weekend games looked like they meant a heck of a lot more to the home team than the visiting one.  The Diamondbacks played like a team trying to get back into the race; the Dodgers played like a team that thinks they can flip the switch at any point.

Here's some proof.  Haren was spotted a 3-1 lead in the third, but couldn't avoid the longball.  Right away to start the bottom of the third, Gerardo Parra singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Chris Owings's RBI single. 

The next inning, Cody Ross homered leading off to tie the game.  Then in the fifth, a two-run shot by the pinch-hitting Eric Chavez (remember him?) gave the DBacks a lead they would not relinquish.  Haren has been very good in the early going, but this would've been a great day to pitch the Dodgers to a victory with a small lead.  It didn't happen.

Then there's the defense.  Ugh.  They couldn't go one whole game without committing an error now could they?  This time it was on a botched double play attempt in which Hanley rushed his throw to a covering Haren at first way wide of the mark, bringing home the DBacks' first run in the second.  Finish that play, and the inning would've been over.  Once again, it didn't happen.

The offense had two great chances to at least tie the game after being down, but like I've already said twice, it didn't happen.  In the sixth, A-Gon singled and Andre Ethier walked, which brought up Matt Kemp to pinch-hit.  One double play ball later, that was it.

Then in the eighth, the bases were loaded when Hanley reached on a fielder's choice, and A-Gon and Ethier singled.  This time Kemp hit a liner, but sure enough, right at Cliff Pennington at second to end the threat.

So like I said before, it's not as if the Dodgers weren't trying.  They just aren't executing nearly as well as they are capable of.  The hitting left too many people on, the pitching blew an early lead, and the defense was suspect again.  Those are all signs of a mediocre team, quite frankly.  That's exactly what the Dodgers are right now at 23-22.

And until they clean up these mistakes, they'll continue to be a win one, lose one type of club.

Other thoughts from the game:

* How about Brandon League?  Two scoreless innings to run his streak to 20 1/3 without an earned run.  Considering how awful Brian Wilson has been, and how Chris Perez and Chris Withrow were pathetic yesterday, League should start seeing bigger innings.  His sinker is going all over the place now in a good way.  Good for him.

* It's also good for him that his contract is so large, because if it wasn't, there's no way he'd still be pitching for the Dodgers right now.  Not to put a damper on his resurgence, but that's the truth.

* It was a tough day at the plate for Dee Gordon, who was 0-for-5.  He's still having a great season with a .304 average and 25 steals, but he is in a 5-for-31 rut the last seven games, lowering his average from .336.  He did look good at second with some nice plays, though, and looks to be getting more comfortable there.

* A few games in Arizona is just what A-Gon needed to wake up his bat, as he gathered five hits over the weekend.  His two-run homer was the first since May 1 in Minnesota.  He's the everyday cleanup hitter, so the offense needs his bat to come alive like that.

The Dodgers will take off Monday to travel to New York before playing three against the Mets.  Like the Dodgers, the Mets are around .500 at 20-23 and also seem to play better on the road than at home.  Josh Beckett goes the first game, then Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the ball on Wednesday in his first game back from the DL.

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