Monday night at Dodger Stadium was about what you'd expect from a playoff game. Sellout crowd of over 53,000; two contending teams clashing; and two good starting pitchers on the mound.
Well, if that was a test, the Dodgers earned themselves a big fat F.
Just about nothing went right, from the horrific defense, to Greinke getting hit around early, to an offense that generated zip at the plate. The result was a sloppy 5-0 loss in which the Dodgers' lead in the NL West is down to 1 1/2 games thanks to the Giants beating the Mets.
You just never know which Dodger team will show up, and in this game it was the one that was made to look silly against the Cubs. Not the team that swept the Giants. Not the team that swept the Braves. More like the team that looked lost against a last place team this past weekend.
Let's start with the defense. It sucked. I'll get to Hanley Ramirez's exploits in a second, but let's look at Carl Crawford, who continues to show that not only has he lost a step, but more like two or three. To start the game off, he missed on two straight sliding catches off the bats of Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, making it 1-0 before you could blink. I guess the effort was there, but the execution most certainly was not. Oh by the way, Crawford is hitting .236.
Then there's Ramirez, who continues to embarrass himself at short more and more each game. With the Dodgers already down 2-0 and Greinke scuffling, Howie Kendrick bounced one to short that should have been the third out. Instead, Ramirez did his best Tim Tebow impersonation by throwing it away. Two runs later, the Dodgers were already down 4-0 before they even came to bat.
Lastly, there's good old Yasiel Puig, who was made to look silly by snail slow Albert Pujols later in the game. Pujols singled leading off the eighth. Josh Hamilton then flew out to Puig in center, and as Puig was once again acting way too arrogant and nonchalant, Pujols actually tagged up and went to second, mocking Puig in the process.
I actually loved seeing that, especially since Puig still acts way too cool whenever he catches a fly ball. There's been a whole lot of good about Puig this year, but little things like that are beyond annoying, especially when his team is getting crushed on the field. The teacher taught the student a lesson there.
All of that aside, it's not like it mattered much when the offense continues to look lost. Garrett Richards is having a very good season with a 2.58 ERA, as he went the distance. No disrespect to him, but the Dodgers made him look like a combination of David Price and Clayton Kershaw, as they stood no chance against him.
In fact, the Dodgers managed only five singles, and were 0-for-7 with RISP. Dee Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez struck out twice, and Matt Kemp three times. There was a whole lot of swinging, and a whole lot of nothing to show for it.
The bottom line is that the Dodgers have three more games against the Angels to prove they belong in their class. Last night, that wasn't the case at all. At least they have Kershaw on the mound tonight, who's the ultimate guy to turn to when things are down. Now if they still lose, then we have problems...