Finding New Ways to Lose

Before we discuss last night’s debacle, I strongly recommend you press “play” on this video. It’s the only way it’s going to make this okay.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK6TXMsvgQg]

Much better. So after John Ely redeems himself by allowing just two runs (one earned) in seven innings – and the importance of that can’t be understated – the Dodgers are down 2-1 in the 9th inning. Matt Kemp reaches via a Brandon Wood error, and moves to second on a Ronnie Belliard single. After Casey Blake whiffs, you’re looking at two on, one out, and Russell Martin at the plate…

… and Matt Kemp gets picked off of second.

Now, whether or not you think it’s a balk is kind of irrelevant. I certainly¬†do, and NBC Hardball Talk‘s Craig Calcaterra sure does, and MOKM has a great animated .gif showing the exact move that Brian Fuentes pulled. But it doesn’t matter. In that situation, it’s not worth the risk. Kemp should have been all but glued to that bag until the ball was on the way to the plate. For years, we’ve been hearing people complain about the occasional bone-headed Kemp mistake, and for the most part I’ve defended him from those detractors. Unfortunately, it’s things like this which make that all but impossible.

But wait! There’s more! Reed Johnson ran for Belliard, and was pushed to second when Martin walked. Now Jamey Carroll comes up to hit for Blake DeWitt against the lefty, and it’s all on the line: two on, two out, Carroll vs. Fuentes. Carroll – who I hate to admit, has grown on me like a weed – gets the job done by blooping a single to left, scoring Johnson to tie the game.

…except, no. Now bear with me because there’s so much stupid going on in this one play that it burns the soul (and I hope you still have “Yakety Sax” running).¬†Johnson, instead of running home like his house was on fire, jogs home. Jogs. With the tying run with two outs in the 9th, on a ball that was in no way a home run. That’s stupid #1. Stupid #2 is Martin, running from first, overruns second base (assuming that Juan Rivera would be throwing home, I suppose) and gets caught before he can get back to the bag… before Johnson, slacking it down the line, crosses home. I mean, this play was so loaded with stupid that FanGraphs did a breakdown on just this sequence alone.

And just like that, the losing streak is up to 6, with only Charlie Haeger‘s last stand today in the way of bringing a 7-game streak home to face the Yankees. It’s one thing when the team can’t pitch, and another when they can’t hit… but to lose self-inflicted stupidity, that hurts more than anything.

And yes, Rafael Furcal made two errors on top of an 0-4, one of which directly led to the eventual winning run. It was also his first game back since watching his dad die on Father’s Day, so… yeah, he gets a pass.

******

The Dodgers signed veteran righty Jesus Colome to a minor-league deal and assigned him to ABQ (hat tip to Dodger Thoughts). Colome, 32 and with parts of 10 MLB seasons to his name, was DFA’d by Seattle on May 31 after putting up a 5.23 ERA in 12 games – though to be fair, he’d been striking out more and allowing fewer hits than he had in years. He’d also been issuing far more free passes, though. Either way, he’s likely just a depth option for AAA, behind guys like Jon Link, Travis Schlichting, and probably even Josh Lindblom on the reliever depth chart.