Last night the Dodgers dropped their fifth game in a row, and fifth recent – with one more contest remaining – against the suddenly rampaging Arizona Diamondbacks. That said, don’t despair, Dodgers fans, because there are some bright spots to be gleamed from last night’s loss.
First off the proverbial bat, is the fact the Dodgers lost a very winnable game. Yes, that’s good news. They looked nothing like the lost blue wanderers who were mercilessly pummeled 13-0 the night before. They went toe-to-toe with the hottest team in the National League, and very well might have won, if not for a couple of boneheaded moves – one on the field, and one from the dugout. That dugout one is probably not the decision you’re thinking.
Lesson 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu is the real deal. The Korean southpaw moved one giant step closer to making his case for a spot in the playoffs starting rotation by holding the powerful Snakes to only one run over six innings. Unfotunately, he gave up a home run on one mistake pitch. Ryu is consistently pitching opponents very tough, and he kept his ballclub in the game while the Dodgers’ offense chipped away at Zack Grienke.
Lesson 2: The offense is coming out of its doldrums, slowly but surely. Yasmani Grandal accounted for the Dodgers’ lone run with another solo home run, and Adrian Gonzalez is beginning to hit the ball with more frequency. Andre Ethier showed a very good eye for the ball last night with a single, a walk, and a sharp line drive that was caught. All bright signs. The Dodgers had a very good chance at knocking Grienke out of the game in the fifth, but they were undone by that bonehead call I mentioned earlier. This one from the skipper.
Yazmani Grandal hit his home run to open the 5th inning, and that was quickly followed by back to back singles from Ethier and Gonzalez. The Dodgers were in business with a run in, two on, no out, and the lousiest hitter on the team – Logan Forsythe – due up next. Forsythe has done ABSOLUTELY ZERO to show any reason to think he should be allowed to hit with the game in the balance. Which brings me to…
Lesson 3: Logan Forsythe has no business with a bat in his hands and the game in the balance. I understand this time of year is about auditions, but Forsythe has auditioned for a month at this point, and he is the last batter that even the most clueless Dodger fan would choose to bat in that spot.
Yet, with Grienke on the ropes, a much-needed confidence building win on the line, and a bench full of hitters, Dave Roberts stupidly allowed Shleprock Forsythe to bat. The result was a rally-killing double play, and Grienke and the D-backs all breathed a huge sigh of relief (and giggled) over the idiocy of Roberts’ decision.
While we’re on the subject of boneheaded plays, the other game-killer came in the seventh inning, when Cody Bellinger singled to lead off the inning, but was thrown out at second on an ill-advised attempt to steal. Combined with Grandal’s strike out, it became another rally killing double play. What was Bellinger thinking? Forsythe wasn’t batting.
Lesson 4: Pedro Baez may have pitched his way off the playoff roster last night (unless a miracle happens). The Dodgers and D-backs were tied at one run apiece going into the 10th inning last night, when the skipper sent Pedro Baez out to the mound. Lots of folks were doubting the decision, but I think this was the right one to make.
The Dodgers need to know if Baez can overcome the heat and control a high-pressure situation. That’s what he’s going to have to do in October, and this was the perfect opportunity to see if he could get the job done. If Baez gave up a run – or worse – the Dodgers would be one step closer to knowing, and if he rose to the occasion, Baez was one step closer to gaining much-needed confidence. It was the right move.
Baez walked the first two batters he faced. They later scored the winning runs, albeit on a throwing error by Justin Turner, but the walks ultimately did Baez and the Dodgers in.
The game was lost, but the Dodgers were not manhandled. If not for a few stumbles, they might have won. And that, Dodger fans, is about as good as the news has been in these parts for a while.