Remember those old Choose Your Own Adventure books? The ones where the reader could decide which option to continue the story? Yeah, I never had those as a kid. But if I did, tonight's Dodger game might be a perfect candidate for one of those books. Heading into the ninth inning, I was prepared to write a recap for a 2-1 Dodger loss. That recap would have started like this:
Offense Falls Asleep,Burned By Beachy
Hiroki Kuroda allowed leadoff home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, and that proved enough for the Braves to overcome the Dodger offensive attack, as the Braves beat the Dodgers 2-1 at Dodger Stadium. Brandon Beachy struck out seven in his six scoreless innings for the win. The Dodgers were able to rally for one run in the seventh inning, but left the bases loaded to end their final scoring threat of the ninth.
OK, that would have been a familiar story to write. After all, the Dodgers and Braves entered the game as the bottom two runs scoring teams in the National League, and this fit that script perfectly. The Dodgers' offense struggling has been an ongoing problem all season, so that story practically writes itself. The Dodgers were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, they scored two runs or less for the eighth time in 18 games. We know these things.
However, that wasn't the only problem that arose tonight. You see, that 2-1 deficit to begin the ninth quickly escalated, and before you knew it, well...
Dodger Bullpen Collapses In Blowout Loss To Braves
Any faint hope the Dodgers had of a comeback, entering the ninth inning down 2-1, were dashed in spectacular fashion as the Dodger bullpen allowed eight runs on eight hits in a disastrous ninth inning, giving Atlanta a 10-1 win at Dodger Stadium. The Braves sent 12 men to the plate in the ninth inning, bludgeoning Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso.
Suddenly the Dodger bullpen, a clear strength heading into spring training if not the season, is remarkably thin. Hong-Chih Kuo is on the disabled list, and was having trouble throwing strikes before getting placed on the DL. Of the rest...
- Jonathan Broxton is 5-for-5 in save opportunities, but he has allowed 13 baserunners in 7 1/3 innings and has a 6.14 ERA
- Jansen has allowed four or more runs on two occasions, and has allowed three home runs in 8 2/3 innings
- Lance Cormier has pitched in four games, and allowed two or more runs in all of them
- Ramon Troncoso has allowed 12 hits to the 17 batters he has faced
The Dodgers are left with Matt Guerrier, Blake Hawksworth, and Mike MacDougal as the only pitchers who really haven't blown up yet. The bullpen sure could use some help, and soon. Luckily...
Padilla Could Join Dodgers Soon
Vicente Padilla struck out three of the five batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings tonight in his second rehab assignment in three days with the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Unless Padilla, who had surgery nearly eight weeks ago to fix his right radial nerve, which was being entrapped by one of the deep muscles in his forearm, feels any pain or has a setback of some sort, he will likely join the Dodgers on their upcoming road trip, which takes them to Chicago and Florida. Manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday that he trusts Padilla pitching an any role in the bullpen, including closer.
Sands Strikes Again
Jerry Sands hit another double, leading off the fifth inning, giving him an extra-base hit in each of his first two games in the majors. Sands is one of just five Dodgers since 1919 to accomplish that feat. Then, in a rookie move, Sands was easily erased trying to advance to third base on a ground ball to shortstop.
|Dodgers With Extra-Base Hits In First Two MLB Games*|
|Jerry Sands||April 18-19, 2011||Atl||Two doubles|
|Andre Ethier||May 2-3, 2006||AZ/SD||double, home run|
|Bill Russell||April 7-11, 1969||Cin/Hou||double, triple, home run|
|Bill Sudakis||September 2-3, 1968||Phi||home run, triple|
|Howie Schultz||Jul 18 - Aug 16, 1943||Bos-StL||two doubles|
- Braves pinch hitters were 0-for-25 on the season (with no walks and eight strikeouts) before collecting two hits in two at-bats tonight. Brooks Conrad singled under James Loney's glove in the top of the seventh inning off of Blake Hawksworth, and Eric Hinske put the game away with a two-run home run off Jansen and a single off Troncoso in the ninth inning. That's right, Hinske had two plate appearances in the ninth inning, as the Braves batted around. Only the first PA counts as a pinch hit appearance though; the second PA for Hinske in the ninth was the rare "no position" PA
- Tonight was just the ninth time in 86 career starts that Kuroda issued three unintentional walks in a game
- As mentioned by Vin Scully on the broadcast, the Dodgers have three home runs at Dodger Stadium this season, all hit by Matt Kemp. Dodger pitchers, however, have allowed 16 home runs at home.
- Andre Ethier did extend his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning double.
- Jonny Venters, who looked dominant in his 1 2/3 innings of relief for Atlanta tonight, has been remarkable this season. Per Daniel Rathman on Twitter: "Jonny Venters has not allowed a flyball through 9.2 innings of work this season. 20 grounders and 1 line-drive. You read that correctly."
- With 57 runs scored and 90 runs allowed, the Dodgers have the worst run differential in the majors.
- Jon Garland will make his second start of the season on Wednesday, facing old friend Derek Lowe.
WP - Brandon Beachy (1-1): 6 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Hiroki Kuroda (2-2): 6 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts