Usually I have a good portion of a game recap written by the time the game ends, with just a few minutes of finishing touches needed. But tonight, I didn’t have a word written when the Dodgers lost on a close play in the tenth, because there really just wasn’t a whole lot worth recapping. I can’t tell if it was the deadly silent Miller Park, the joyless commentary of Steve Lyons & Eric Collins, or just a relatively uneventful game, but no one – either in the park or watching from home – seemed particularly into this one.
That’ll happen now and then over an 162 game season, I suppose, especially when not a single Dodger had more than one hit. Chris Capuano was effective enough over six innings, and watching Josh Lindblom & Kenley Jansen dominate for three more was fun. But let’s skip right ahead to the tenth inning, because that’s all anyone is going to want to talk about.
Matt Guerrier came in to pitch, and while I absolutely hate the idea of saving your closer on the road for a lead which may never come, Guerra’s been shaky enough the last two times out that I can’t really say it absolutely positively had to be him in that situation, so, fine. Unfortunately, Guerrier was shaky, walking leadoff hitter Jonathan Lucroy, a mistake which was multiplied by A.J. Ellis sailing a throw into center field when Nyjer Morgan (running for Lucroy) attempted to steal second. With one out (thanks to yet another late-inning bunt fail gift), Guerrier intentionally walked Rickie Weeks in an attempt to set up the double play.
That’s fine, except that then Weeks stole second with little resistance from the Dodgers, eliminating the double play possibility. Guerrier made things even worse by walking George Kottaras, because that brought Ryan Braun to the plate. Say what you will about whether Braun really deserved his 2011 awards, but hey, whenever you can walk a backup catcher to get to the NL MVP in a critical situation, why wouldn’t you?
Braun flew out to center, where Matt Kemp – positioned somewhat awkwardly in short left-center since the Dodgers had pulled Jerry Hairston in to be a fifth infielder – settled under the fly. But Kemp’s positioning wasn’t great, since he didn’t have a whole lot of forward momentum when he caught the ball, and so his throw to the plate to try to catch Morgan was hardly his best effort. (Morgan, it should be noted, ran through the stop sign of his third base coach.)
Morgan was called safe to end the game, though as you can see, there’s more than a little controversy in that…
So really, this is the flip side of the 9-1 start. This team can be successful when they get quality pitching, especially out of the bullpen, and solid defense. When either or both fail? That’s an enormous problem from a team which has two offensive superstars and not a whole hell of a lot else.
The Dodgers will attempt to avoid the sweep in tomorrow’s matinee, bright and early at 10:10am, up against old friend Randy Wolf.