On a night they struggled to score runs, the Dodgers shot themselves in the feet tonight on the bases, making two crucial outs in the ninth inning, leading to yet another loss, this time 2-1 to the Angels, who are now 5-0 against the Dodgers this season.
It really was a stunning end to the game. One I'm still not sure exactly how it all happened. Let's take a look back at the carnage.
Trailing 2-1 in the ninth, the Dodgers put two runners on to start the inning against Brian Fuentes. After a Casey Blake strikeout, Russell Martin took three straight balls and the Dodger rally was in business. Then, one pitch after Martin took
ball four strike one, Fuentes whirled toward second base and picked off Matt Kemp for the second out.
Martin walked, bringing Jamey Carroll to the plate with two on and two outs. Carroll lofted a fly ball single to left field which -- again, with runners going with two outs -- appeared to tie the game. However, not only was Reed Johnson jogging home, but Russell Martin veered too far past second base, and Martin was thrown out trying to slide back to second base, and he was tagged out before Johnson crossed the plate, ending the game with no tying tally.
"I thought we gave it away," Joe Torre said on Prime Ticket after the game, "I thought Russell Martin was safe at second base, but he can't put himself in peril like that."
John Ely had a very nice rebound start, pitching seven strong innings. He allowed just two runs, both after leadoff doubles and a misplay by Rafael Furcal, in his first game back in the lineup. In the fourth inning, with Kevin Frandsen on third base and one out, Torii Hunter grounded to Furcal, who was playing shallow. Frandsen was dead meat at the plate, but Furcal presumably thought the same thing and bobbled the ball, allowing both the run to score and Hunter to reach base.
In the fifth inning, Mike Napoli was on second base with nobody out and Jeff Mathis hit a grounder to Furcal, who held Napoli at second but threw wide to first. First base umpire Tim Welke ruled that James Loney's foot came off the bag, although replays seemed to indicate Loney had the ball with his foot on the bag. A sacrifice bunt and a groundout later, and the Angels had the go-ahead, unearned run.
However, a questionable call at first base is not an excuse why the Dodgers lost tonight. Horrible baserunning isn't the reason why they lost tonight. They lost because, unless it's the playoffs, they can't touch Joel Pineiro. For the third consecutive regular season start, he held the Dodgers to just one run, this time in 7 1/3 innings. Pineiro retired 14 in a row until a one-out walk to Andre Ethier brought the hook in the eighth inning. Pineiro has made five regular season starts against the Dodgers, has a 2.39 ERA, and his teams -- from Seattle to St. Louis to Anaheim -- have won all five games.
I smell a Larry Bowa tirade in three, two, one...
- Aside from getting picked off second base, Kemp had a very good game. He hit three rockets tonight, and was very close to two home runs. However, two found gloves and he ended up with an RBI double in four at-bats, and probably should have had two runs batted in but Manny Ramirez didn't score from first base with two outs in the third inning
- Andre Ethier had two hits for the second straight game
- Jonathan Broxton threw one pitch in the last nine days so, without a save situation tonight, he was brought in to pitch the eighth inning with the Dodgers down a run, just to get some work in. It was the first time Broxton entered the game to start the eighth inning since August 27, 2008 in Washington
Charlie Haeger gets the unenviable task of trying to end the six-game losing streak and avoid a sweep tomorrow, against Scott Kazmir of the Angels. Luckily, thanks to Ely's outing tonight, the bullpen will is well rested should it be needed.
WP - Joel Pineiro (7-6): 7 1/3 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
LP - John Ely (3-5): 7 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Brian Fuentes (12): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout