The 7th Inning As Microcosm Of the Season

Hiroki Kuroda sailed through the first four innings on a hot night in Philadelphia, escaped some trouble in the 5th, and then was touched for a Ryan Howard solo homer in the 6th. That was the run that put the Dodgers down 1-0 entering the top of the 7th, and, well, just see the play-by-play.

Down one run, Andre Ethier & Matt Kemp set up the 5-6-7 hitters with two men in scoring position and no outs. To avoid scoring a run in that situation, you basically have to be actively trying to fail. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Juan Uribe, Marcus Thames, and Rod Barajas failed to get the job done. But that’s not news; Ethier and Kemp have been sabotaged by their underperforming teammates all season long. What really got me was the furor on Twitter as this was happening. In rough chronological order…

Tony Jackson (ESPNLA):

horrible AB by Uribe right there. Just horrible.

EephusBlue:

Boy am I glad we kept Thames

Dylan Hernandez (LA Times):

Thames, who batted 3rd Monday, comes up with men on the corners. “It doesn’t matter where you bat him,” someone said, “the game finds him.

Jayson Stark (ESPN):

The Rod Barajas Fan Club will be delighted to know that once that pop-up came down, he was 2 for 37 this year with men in scoring position.

Jackson:

@jaysonst and that .054 average is 54 points better than Thames, who is now 0 for 11 w/RISP

Jackson:

I have never seen a team come up with more creative ways to not score after getting a runner to third with less than two outs.

Kevin Modesti (LA Daily News):

@dodgerscribe It’s another example of we’ve talked about. Ethier & Kemp get on … Uribe, Thames & Barajas coming up — what do you expect?

ChadMoriyama:

That was one of those Dodgers offense moments you sorta knew was coming, but you still feel disgusted anyway watching it happen.

I could have replayed this entire thing again the 9th, when Kemp led off with a leadoff single against Ryan Madson and was immediately erased when Uribe grounded into a double play. On the night, Ethier & Kemp went 4-8 with a double. Everyone else? 3-24. Despite the excitement of the last few days, the tune remains the same: if Kemp and Ethier don’t get some help, and soon, they alone won’t be enough to carry this team.

******

Jerry Sands has been awful lately, and I wouldn’t be against a minor league trip for him, so I can’t harp on this too badly. But I had to question Don Mattingly’s decision in the 8th inning, when he hit for Dee Gordon against lefty Cole Hamels, who was excellent tonight. Hitting for Gordon, who was 0-3 at that point, wasn’t a problem at all. What bothered me was that instead of bringing up the righty Sands, who at least has a prayer of going deep, or even Aaron Miles, who is somehow hitting .410 in 39 PA against LHP this year (scratch that, Miles had hit for the pitcher just before), he went with… James Loney. Loney can’t hit anyone this year, and he especially can’t hit lefties. Loney popped out on a 3-0 count. Bizarre choice, in my opinion.

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