The Dodgers got good work out of their patchwork pitching staff on Sunday, but the offense couldn't score enough runs to keep up. The floodgates opened in the top of the ninth, turning a close game into an 8-2 Braves' rout, as the Dodgers closed out their worst homestand of the season.
Eric Stults, pressed into starting duty with only two days rest after throwing 61 pitches over three innings in a minor league start on Thursday, gave up three runs in five innings. Outside of a home run allowed to Matt Diaz, Stults was reasonably effective and efficient, throwing 75 pitches in his five innings. Jeff Weaver followed Stults by retiring all nine batters he faced, but it didn't matter as the Dodgers could only muster one run and five hits in eight innings off of Braves' starter Javier Vazquez.
The game was only 3-1 entering the ninth, but Ramon Troncoso was ineffective, giving up three straight hits to start a five-run rally that put the game away for Atlanta. After a one-out walk, Guillermo Mota relieved Troncoso and couldn't stop the bleeding, allowing two more hits and both inherited runners to score.
Before you go throwing dirt on a club with a 5½ game lead in it's division for losing 11 of their last 17 games, let's look at some other teams in recent years and their worst 17-game stretches:
2009 Dodgers: One 6-11 stretch, one 7-10 stretch
2008 World Champion Phillies: Three 5-12 stretches, seven 6-11 stretches, and eight 7-10 stretches
- 2007 World Champion Red Sox: Three 7-10 stretches
- 2006 World Champion Cardinals: Three 4-13 stretches, six 5-12 stretches, fifteen 6-11 stretches, and twenty-one 7-10 stretches
- 2005 World Champion White Sox: Six 6-11 stretches, and twelve 7-10 stretches
- 2004 World Champion Red Sox: Four 6-11 stretches, and five 7-10 stretches
- 2003 World Champion Marlins: Two 4-13 stretches, three 5-12 stretches, ten 6-11 stretches, and seven 7-10 stretches
- 2002 World Champion Angels: Four 5-12 stretches, three 6-11 stretches, and one 7-10 stretch
- 2001 World Champion D-Backs: Two 6-11 stretches, and twenty-four 7-10 stretches
2000 World Champion Yankees: Two 3-14 stretches, one 4-13 stretch, four 5-12 stretches, eight 6-11 stretches, and sixteen 7-10 stretches
WP - Javier Vazquez (10-7): 8 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Eric Stults (4-3): 5 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts