For a few days now, we’ve been talking about the Dodger offense plummeting back to earth as we sort of expected it would, having scored just eleven runs over their last five games – all losses. And with Ted Lilly‘s injury, Chad Billingsley‘s inconsistency, and the apparent pursuit of Roy Oswalt, there’s suddenly concern in some circles about the rotation depth.
But what we haven’t been talking about is the defense, which has been a surprising strength of the team, ranking as the best in baseball by certain measures. Tonight in Colorado, that defense failed the Dodgers spectacularly, making four errors as they fell 13-3 in a game which got increasingly uglier as the late innings droned on. Then again, if you take a closer look at those miscues, you start to wonder if they even should be charged to “the Dodgers”, considering how tattered this roster is right now. We saw three throwing errors in the first four innings, one of which came from backup catcher Matt Treanor (on a miscommunication with Ivan De Jesus), and one each coming from De Jesus & Jerry Hairston, oddly starting at third base & second base, respectively, rather than vice-versa.
Hairston made the fourth error of the day after a bizarre double-switch in a nightmarish sixth inning which saw the Rockies put four on the board. After Chris Capuano allowed a Todd Helton double and a Wilin Rosario homer – and he’d been relatively decent to that point, mainly getting killed by the BABIP gods taking their revenge – he walked DJ LeMahieu and got to a 2-2 count on opposing pitcher Adam Ottavino. In a move I don’t think I’ll ever understand, Don Mattingly removed Capuano for Jamey Wright in the middle of the at-bat, moving De Jesus to second, Hairston to short, and bringing in Elian Herrera (at third base) to replace Dee Gordon in the lineup.
Hairston, as you may remember, looked atrocious at shortstop in spring training, but because the immutable law of baseball is “guy who probably shouldn’t be at a position will absolutely get the first ball hit right to him”, he fielded a Dexter Fowler grounder and threw high, pulling Scott Van Slyke off the bag. (Which, it should be pointed out, was probably a ball James Loney might have had.) LeMahieu scored, Marco Scutaro then immediately drove in Fowler with a single, and the rout was on.
Of course, the poor defense is mainly just a fun sidenote, since Capuano wasn’t his usual effective self, Wright poured napalm onto the fire, Josh Lindblom allowed back-to-back homers, and the offense once again struggled to get anything going, scoring just three runs despite 14 baserunners. If there was any bright spot today, it was in some signs of offensive life from a few of the young bats. Van Slyke & Alex Castellanos each had two hits, including one for extra bases, with Castellanos throwing in a sacrifice fly for good measure; De Jesus had a run-scoring double as well.
It might not get any easier, though: the Dodgers are going to have to turn to Aaron Harang in Colorado to stop their five-game slide tomorrow.