The Dodgers continued their death march through the National League West on Friday night, falling 5-2 to the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego. It wasn't so much the loss that was so deflating for the Dodgers, after all at a season-worst 12 games under .500 (30-42) defeats are almost expected at this point. But rather it was the manner in how the Dodgers lost their second straight game.
Clayton Richard started for the Padres, but just two pitches into the game he had to leave with left shoulder pain, later diagnosed as pain in his left AC joint, the Padres announced during the game. Richard, who had season-ending left shoulder surgery in July 2011, will be further evaluated later.
This put the Padres in immediate disarray, as Tim Stauffer was forced to come in on a moment's notice. He allowed singles to Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig, then one out later loaded the bases with a walk to Hanley Ramirez. But the Dodgers were only able to cash in one run from that golden opportunity against Stauffer, and for the rest of the game were most frozen in place.
But facing essentially a bullpen game, already with a 1-0 lead, and with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound, that is as advantageous a spot these Dodgers could possibly find themselves in. Only it wasn't enough.
The Padres erased that early deficit rather quickly as Chris Denorfia, the second batter of the game, drove a ball out to left field for his fifth home run of the season, and second off Kershaw. Denorfia this season is hitting .342/.409/.632 against the Dodgers, with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBI in 11 games.
San Diego tacked on three more runs in the third inning, thanks to a walk, two singles and a triple, with all three balls hit to the outfield a whimsical adventure for either Elian Herrera in left field (twice) or Skip Schumaker in center field.
Kershaw had a rare non-quality start, with four runs allowed in six innings, though it was far from bad as he also struck out seven and walked one. Kershaw this season has allowed three or more runs just six times in 16 starts, but three of those starts are against the Padres. In three starts against San Diego this season, Kershaw is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA, with 21 strikeouts and eight walks. Against everyone else this season, Kershaw's ERA is 1.59, with 90 strikeouts and 24 walks.
So despite a 2.06 ERA that ranks third in the major leagues, Kershaw has watched the Dodgers go 8-8 in his 16 starts.
That is simply criminal.
- Yasiel Puig continued to put on a show. Aside from a strong throw from right field in the seventh inning that was relayed for an assist, Puig showed off his wheels in the eighth. He grounded to shortstop Pedro Ciriaco, who moved ever so slightly back while fielding the ball, but that was enough for Puig to beat the throw for an infield single. Then he tagged up on a fly ball to right filed and made it to second base standing up, and later scored.
- Puig was 2-for-4 on the night, his 11th multi-hit contest in 17 games. He is hitting .455/.478/.773.
- Hanley Ramirez walked twice and had an RBI double, and has reached base 11 times in 16 plate appearances in his last four games.
- Kershaw has a 3.38 ERA in his last six outings, including four quality starts. He is 0-3 during that span.
- The double by Ramirez in the eighth inning gave him seven extra-base hits in 50 plate appearances this season, one more than all other Dodgers shortstops combined this season in 247 PA.
- Mark Ellis has two singles and a walk from the leadoff spot on Friday.
- Juan Uribe had two hits and drove in a run. At Petco Park this season Uribe is hitting .364 (4-11) with 2 home runs.
The Dodgers try to snap their two-game spell on Saturday afternoon on big Fox, with Zack Greinke making his first appearance at Petco Park since breaking his collarbone on Apr. 11. Edinson Volquez starts for the Padres, who have won eight straight home games. Matt Vasgersian and Eric Karros are on the call for Saturday's 4:15 p.m. PT start.
Home run: Chris Denorfia (5)
WP - Tim Stauffer (1-0): 4 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (5-5): 6 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Huston Street (15): 3 up, 3 down