I'm glad the NBA Finals was on last night, because with the way the Dodgers have been playing, I would have either fallen asleep or cursed out the TV over and over. Maybe both.
For a second straight night, the Dodgers got good starting pitching, this time from Brett Anderson tossing two-run ball over eight innings. But, their offense largely did nothing again, and Robinson Chirinos walked-off on young Josh Ravin to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory.
It was the same old, same old for the Dodgers: the offense can't put up any runs, and the middle relief has practically zero reliable options. Last night both were on display, and not surprisingly at all, it was another loss.
Let's take a look at both of those topics:
Lack of offense. The Dodgers got one big hit, albeit a very big one. With one out in the ninth, Howie Kendrick took a walk from tiring starter Chi Chi Gonzalez. Rather than yanking him for the closer Shawn Tolleson, Rangers manager Jeff Banister rolled the dice by keeping him in. Big mistake, as Justin Turner took the very next pitch out to left, and it was 2-2.
The Dodgers followed that up with two-out singles by Yasmani Grandal and Alex Guerrero. Would they then tack on the all-important go-ahead run? Of course not! Jimmy Rollins and his atrocious .198 AVG flew out to left.
Take away the ninth inning, and my goodness was this team asleep at the wheel. It's honestly like a chore to watch this team hit lately. Before the last inning they had four hits, all singles (two by Joc Pederson, one apiece by Adrian Gonzalez and Grandal). And it's not like they were facing Nolan Ryan, they were facing some guy named Chi Chi Freakin' Gonzalez. Nothing against him, but give me a break - they made him look like Cy Young and Greg Maddux all rolled into one. The Dodgers really should be pretty embarrassed by that.
Terrible middle relief. Just like last year, the book on the Dodgers is this: get the starter out early, and attack the bullpen so they can't hand Kenley Jansen the ball with the lead. Last night it was Ravin getting lit up, and the night before it was Adam Liberatore not getting a big out in the sixth. Different guys, same result.
I know Don Mattingly will get criticized for even using Ravin in such a big spot, but honestly, who else can he turn to? It's a road game, so you can't burn Jansen in a non-save situation. Juan Nicasio has been letting too many guys reach base lately. J.P. Howell isn't bad, but is more of a situational lefty. Chris Hatcher and Yimi Garcia are an embarrassment. Liberatore just pitched the night before and is only getting worse. Who else is even left?
That's the dilemma Donnie faced, and hindsight being what it is, should've handed the ball to someone else. There's just no solid options to turn to, and that's why Anderson was stretched out for a season-high 114 pitches. The bottom line is that, as I stated before, the bullpen has a major issue getting the ball to Jansen, and it's not getting any better.