Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mistakes galore crush the Dodgers

One night after making every play possible to eek out a 1-0 win, the Dodgers went completely the other way on Friday night in a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals.  They ran into outs on the bases, messed up a deep fly ball to center, and got very frustrated with the home plate umpire.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, used some great defense to capitalize on the Dodgers' mistakes.  John Jay made a magnificent diving catch in dead center, taking away a sure RBI from Juan Uribe in the sixth.

I tweeted this during the game, but I really believe the Dodgers were lucky to be down just two after the gaffes they made.  Here's a look at what went wrong:

1) After the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second, Miguel Rojas got thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball.  There were runners on second and third with one out, and Carlos Martinez's pitch skipped away from Yadier Molina.  Rojas waited a second, and that's all the terrific Molina needed to flip the ball to Martinez covering the plate for the out.  That play was big, because instead of Yasiel Puig getting an RBI groundout right after, it was the final out of the inning.

2) A.J. Ellis lined a single to right in the fourth in which Allen Craig slid near the wall to cut off.  Ellis, not exactly the fasted guy in the stadium, tried to stretch it to second anyway.  He was nailed.

3) The biggest blow came in the fifth, as two runners were on for the Cardinals with one out.  To back up a second, Andre Ethier was given a night off after he kept fouling pitches off his right leg the night before.  That meant Scott Van Slyke started in center.  Sure enough, Jhonny Peralta hit a fly ball to right center that should've been caught.  For whatever reason, Van Slyke pulled up short, looked at Puig, then looked at the ball landing for a two-run double.  No doubt, it should've been caught, and that was the hit that the Cardinals needed to win.

4) Matt Kemp was nailed trying to swipe second to end the sixth.  Apparently he's never heard of Molina's record for throwing out pretty much everyone and their mothers.

I'm not even mentioning the two double plays they grounded into, as Adrian Gonzalez killed a rally to end the fifth, and Ellis finished the game with another.  Plus, Uribe flew out with the bases loaded to end the first.

I think you get the point that the Dodgers had any number of chances to get this win, but didn't.  You simply cannot make that many mistakes against a good ball club like the Cardinals and expect to win.  They made all the big plays on Thursday, but not Friday.  I guess it's no surprise they've split the first couple.

Other thoughts from the game:

* One guy who played very well was Dee Gordon, going 3-for-4 with an RBI single.  He would've had a stolen base off the great Molina in the fifth, but it was also ball four to Puig.  I was thinking during the game just how little Gordon was used in last year's postseason, but he's a legit main guy now.  Good for him.

* A-Gon had a good night with the glove, as he made a slick play getting a forceout at second off of a bunt.  But, his bat continues to let him down.  He's down to .251, as he's only hitting .198 in June.  Maybe we'll start to see Van Slyke and even Clint Robinson get some starts?  I wouldn't be opposed to it.

* Ryu deserved better fate, but that miscommunication by Van Slyke and Puig made his numbers look a little worse.  He finished with seven innings, nine hits, three runs, one walk, and seven strikeouts.  The good news was that I didn't think he had his best stuff at times, but still went deep.  This was the first time he's lasted at least seven innings in six starts, so that's a good sign.

* I think we all still don't appreciate just how good Uribe is at third.  He's got a quick glove and gun from the hot corner, and does it with ease.  I felt like he got robbed from a Gold Glove last year, and now he's trying to show everyone why.

* Van Slyke would like to forget this night.  He messed up the fly ball from Peralta, then got tossed later in the game arguing a called strike three between innings.  Not his finest night.

Even with the loss, the Dodgers have to feel good about their chances to grab both weekend games, as they have Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw all lined up.  The Cardinals send Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to the bump, and they're no slouches themselves.  Add it all up, and it'll be two close games again.

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