For what feels like the 40th time this year, Chris Capuano comes down with a poorly-timed injury, this time a strained left groin that forced him out of the game after just 1.2 innings. Thanks to that, this quickly turned into a bullpen game, with six Dodger relievers combining to pick up the slack.
While this ended up being a 3-2 loss, it actually wasn’t because of the unexpected pitching mess, because only J.P. Howell, who allowed a Joey Votto dinger that provided the winning runs, really got hurt badly. (He says, trying not to acknowledge that Paco Rodriguez faced three hitters and retired none.) Stephen Fife made his first appearance in more than a month, and while he wasn’t particularly impressive, he at least showed enough that you wonder if he’ll be taking this start the next time Capuano’s spot comes up, or at least Edison Volquez otherwise. Chris Withrow was extremely impressive in striking out five of six.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers managed only five hits off Mike Leake and friends, and one of those was a Dee Gordon bunt that hit him in the back of the neck on the throw to first. Hanley Ramirez hit a second-deck blast in the first inning, but that was all they could manage. Other than Ramirez’ two hits, Yasiel Puig‘s infield single represented all the damage from the starting lineup. With the meat of the order up in the ninth inning looking to tie, Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman absolutely blew away Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Ramirez.
At least Atlanta lost to the Phillies, so the Dodgers don’t lose ground in the battle for the top seed, and it’s hard to get too upset over a game where your starter managed just five outs. Still, Leake’s good but he’s not that good, and the offense hasn’t exactly been on fire lately. Fortunately, top hitters Clayton Kershaw & Zack Greinke are lined up for the weekend. And, best of all: no more Eric Collins & Steve Lyons in 2013! If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.