Over time, the additions of Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Belisario to the bullpen will make the Dodgers a stronger team. But tonight, they were as ineffective as most of the rest of the sorry lot, as the Dodgers dropped the series finale to the Reds, 8-5.
Vicente Padilla pitched well, but thanks to two bad defensive plays on his part and one eephus pitch hit roughly three miles, he left trailing after six innings. However, Garret Anderson parlayed his 25% line drive rate into a two-run line drive home run to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh.
Enter Kuo, who was making his season debut. He allowed a single and a walk to three batters, although it appeared on Gameday he was squeezed by home plate umpire Tim McLelland. Joe Torre decided to pull Kuo after just three batters, giving the ball to Belisario, working his second game in a row. The move appeared to work, as Brandon Phillips lined to second in what might have been an inning ending double play, but Blake DeWitt's throw to first base was wide and the inning continued.
A double, a walk, and two singles later, and the bullpen saviors Kuo and Belisario got charged with four runs. The double was hit by Scott Rolen, and was hit deep to left center field. Matt Kemp and Reed Johnson both converged on the ball, but Johnson was called off by Kemp, who appeared to mistime his jump, as the ball dropped in between Kemp and the wall. It would have been a very good catch by Kemp had he made it, but it was not the most aesthetically pleasing play.
Manny Ramirez left the game after hitting a single in the sixth inning, with a strained right calf, the same injury that caused him to miss the bulk of the series with the Giants last weekend.
Over his last 17 1/3 innings, Padilla has just three walks against 21 strikeouts.
The Dodgers travel to Washington DC to begin a three-game series tomorrow. In the opener, Charlie Haeger faces off against Luis Atilano, a right-hander who will be making his major league debut.
WP - Mike Leake (1-0): 7 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts (Leake has pitched 6 2/3 innings or longer in all three major league starts so far)
LP - Hong-Chih Kuo (0-1): 1/3 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk
Sv - Francisco Cordero (6): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout