This Would Be Funny If It Weren’t So Excruciating

Man, it’s one thing to watch your offense struggle… and it’s another thing to watch it struggle like that. You figure you’ve got a perfect opportunity to break out of your offensive malaise, because you’re up against the worst team in baseball, and not only that, the 22-year-old opposing moundsman is something called “Collin Balester“, who I’m not afraid to admit I had never once heard of in my life before tonight. But what do we end up with? One run on seven hits, plus another wasted outstanding pitching performance (Derek Lowe the victim tonight, as it seems he so often is.)

Make no mistake, though. Regardless of what the scoreboard said, the Dodgers were shut out tonight. Their one run came after loading the bases on zero hits – back-to-back hit batters and a walk - and only came around when Nationals catcher Jesus Flores had a brainfart in not tagging Nomar at the plate on Matt Kemp’s fielder’s choice grounder to third.

Really, I can’t describe this any better than reporter Michael Schwartz put it:

The Dodgers’ run of offensive futility has gotten so bad, they’re inventing new ways not to score runs.

And against the worst team in baseball no less.

Tuesday’s episode included four double plays, 10 runners left on base and a lineout double play with the bases loaded, as the Dodgers dropped their season-high-tying fifth straight game, 2-1, to the Nationals at Nationals Park.

It’s unbelievable. It’s not outright futility, the matching 0-5′s turned in by Kemp and Andre Ethier aside. It’s the complete lack of situational hitting that’s destroying this team right now. Four for thirty-nine with runners in scoring position over the last three games is completely unacceptable. Another opportunity lost, with Arizona on their way to defeat against San Diego. I’m still not ready to jump ship, not when you still have six more games left with the team you’re three games behind. But clearly, this needs to get fixed now. And yeah, I do feel like I’ve written the same post four days in a row.

So what now? Obviously, just hoping guys turn it around isn’t enough, although you can’t really replace the entire lineup, either. Look for some lineup changes for game two, although this quote from Torre seems to say that it’s more about rest than performance:

Torre still hopes to give Kent, catcher Russell Martin and possibly third baseman Casey Blake a breather in Los Angeles’ series against the last-place Nationals to keep them fresh in advance of this weekend’s showdown in Phoenix against the first-place D-backs, who entered Tuesday leading the Dodgers by three games in the National League West.

Kent could use a break, although he is 4-9 lifetime off of Nationals starter Tim Redding. If you’ve read this site at all lately, you know I want to see Martin get a break. Here’s what worries me, though: if Blake takes a seat, is Torre going to put Martin there again? Because we’ve been through this. That’s NOT a break for Martin. Put Nomar at third and Angel Berroa at short, or don’t rest Blake at all. I cannot stress this enough. I also have zero faith that it’s actually going to happen.

Finally, expect to see a roster move before the game, as Cory Wade is expected to be activated off of the disabled list. No word on who leaves town for him… but it has to be Tanyon Sturtze, right? The Dodgers are already carrying 12 pitchers on the roster, so it has to be an arm that goes down. I suppose it could be Ramon Troncoso too, optioned to Vegas until rosters expand, but Sturtze is barely…

Who am I kidding. Of course it won’t be Sturtze.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg