The good news is that Nathan Eovaldi was once again effective, better than his line of “five hits, four walks, and three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings” would indicate. Through five innings, Eovaldi had allowed just one run on two singles and three walks, looking every bit as impressive as he had in his first start last week. Unfortunately, the wheels came off in the sixth inning, where a leadoff walk to Dexter Fowler, a single by Jordan Pacheco, & a double by Todd Helton – all around a Carlos Gonzalez infield single where James Loney made a great play to knock it down and a somewhat less-great play to attempt to get back to the bag to receive the throw – conspired to allow the Rockies to score two more to go up 3-0.
Still, taking a one-run game into the sixth for a young pitcher in Colorado is generally more than you can ask for, except that the bad news is that the near-chronic inability of the Dodgers to generate offense doomed Eovaldi to defeat. Facing Alex White, coming off the worst start of his young career, the Dodgers could manage just three hits – singles by Jerry Hairston & Dee Gordon, and a two-run blast by A.J. Ellis. (Who you really should be voting for for All-Star right now, because initial results are expected out any day.) Ellis did his best to tie the game in the ninth by taking a Rafael Betancourt pitch to the left field warning track, and Alex Castellanos hit a rocket up the middle with one on that was saved by a great play from second baseman DJ LeMahieu, and that was basically it.
To be honest, I’m not sure how to fix the offense before Matt Kemp returns, barring an unexpected trade. The current group just isn’t getting it done, and any hope that Loney or Adam Kennedy or Gordon is going to be a sudden hero seems far-fetched. Letting Ellis hit higher than Kennedy might be a good start, though.
By the way, just a brutal day for Steve Lyons, and considering how awful he usually is, that’s really saying something.
More than once, he expressed surprise at Andre Ethier‘s league-leading RBI total, noting (I’m paraphrasing here) “that it’s surprising he has so many RBI hitting behind Kemp, since Kemp was driving them all in.” This is, of course, ludicrous, since Kemp’s .444 OBP meant that Ethier had the good fortune of hitting behind a man who got on base more often than nearly anyone else in the league. In fact, only four hitters in all of baseball have had more runners on base for them to drive in than Ethier has. While Kemp has of course missed time due to injury, he hit with men on base fewer times than Gordon has – in no small part because Gordon has been all but unable to get on base.
In the sixth, he noted that Gordon had not had a successful bunt hit so far this year. I found that surprising, so I tweeted it, and soon found that trusting Lyons to be correct on anything without independent verification is just asking for trouble; the reason it seemed so surprising that Gordon hadn’t had a bunt hit is because it’s in no way true – he’s actually had four.