Down 4-2 in the 8th inning, Matt Kemp walked to load the bases. That brought up Adrian Gonzalez, who’d already driven in a run with two hits on the day, against Miami reliever Steve Cishek. This is the kind of situation fairy tales are made of; Gonzalez, having already hit more home runs at Dodger Stadium than James Loney had all year, up with a chance to end the homestand and his first weekend as a Dodger with a go-ahead grand slam.
With two strikes, Gonzalez swung and sent a hard-hit ball to deep right field. For the briefest moment, it seemed like he’d done it, as the crowd swelled to their feet, but “almost” wasn’t quite good enough, as the ball fell into the glove of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton on the lip of the warning track.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Dodgers got to the big hit today, collecting 11 hits off six Miami pitchers but being unable to have a single one going for extra bases. In theory, that’s depressing, because the Marlins are a bad team, but I have to look at it from the other side, and maybe it’s just the excitement of the weekend’s moves which hasn’t worn off yet: including a hit-by-pitch and six walks – including two apiece from Kemp & Nick Punto – the Dodgers put 18 men on base today. Hell, even Juan Uribe broke an “0 since 2005″ streak to grab a pinch-hit. That’s unfortunate in the moment, but more often than not, if you’re getting that kind of on-base production, the runs will come. They did in the first two games of the series; it just didn’t happen today, and those games happen from time to time.
Over the three games against Miami, this team had 40 hits (just hits alone, not even including walks), and that’s with Gonzalez not even having played on Friday. Yeah, I think that’ll work.
Where the Dodgers had difficulty finding power, the Marlins brought it in spades. Aaron Harang & Shawn Tolleson allowed two longballs apiece, including a mammoth blast to dead center by Stanton and the first MLB dinger from rookie catcher Rob Brantly; Tolleson merely allowed a difficult deficit to get larger by letting Jose Reyes & Carlos Lee go back-to-back in the ninth. That was all the scoring Miami would need, though an error by former Marlin Hanley Ramirez allowed an additional run to score in the eighth. Don Mattingly used six of his seven relievers today, and while Kenley Jansen didn’t enter, he did warm, so we’d better all hope that Josh Beckett has a successful debut in Colorado tomorrow.