At the start of the night, everything was falling into place. The Cardinals lost. The Dodgers were facing a very beatable Barry Zito, and they had a season high six game winning streak going. They were to have Kershaw going for them tomorrow. It almost seemed too good to be true. Those percentages that ESPN spewed out that said the Dodgers had a 2.5% chance to make the playoffs were suddenly looking like they’d have to severely be adjusted.
|The One Bright Spot of the night, A.J. Ellis' two-run homer in the seventh (photo by Mark J. Terrell/AP)|
But this was a game watched in absolute agony. Things just didn’t go their way. Adrian Gonzalez belted a second inning pitch to the left field wall that Xavier Nady made a diving catch on. We all thought that thing was leaving the yard. The Dodgers failed to capitalize on Giant miscues by Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan. Kemp was unable to collect a clutch hits with men in scoring position with two outs. It seemed to be a replay of those games earlier in the month when the Dodgers couldn’t buy a hit with men in scoring position.
And then there was the boner of a play by Mark Ellis. With one out in the 7th and the Dodgers trailing 4-3, Mark Ellis laced a double to left center field. Angel Pagan deeked him into thinking that he wasn’t hustling on the play because frankly, he wasn’t. But as soon as Ellis broke for third base Pagan rifled a relay throw in to shortstop Arias and Ellis was out from third base to well...San Francisco. It literally cost the Dodgers the game because Victorino tripled on the next pitch.
Mattingly managed this game as if it were an elimination game, as he should have. I seriously questioned why he allowed Capuano to bat in the bottom of the second inning with two on and two out. He had a short leash with starter Chris Capuano but it wasn’t short enough as the Dodger lefty surrendered homers to Posey and that pesky Joaquin Arias (who absolutely killed us this year on a number of occasions). I guess we should have seen the writing on the wall. Capuano entered today’s game with a 1-7 record against San Francisco.
It was a game when it seemed that everything was going against us. From the check swing strikeout called on Victorino in the early innings, to the failure of Juan Rivera to score on a two out hit that was badly played by Angel Pagan. And do the Dodgers ever throw anybody out at the plate? It seems like whenever the opposition gets aggressive, (a la Angel Pagan), and tries to score from first with two outs, they succeed. Maybe it is the frustration on my part, but it just seemed like there was a lack of effort. There were double clutches on throws, hesitations on the base paths, bad approaches against a very hittable starter like Barry Zito.
Baseball is a game in which we seldom see perfection. Perfection is what the Dodgers were seeking in the final eight games of the year. They fell short after six in a row. That is something to be admired, but it hurts. It definitely hurts. The Blue Crew put themselves in this position by playing sloppy baseball earlier in the month, and as a result, they fell short. Tonight’s game was very winnable. This 2012 season was winnable. What a shame that we’re saying wait till next year once again.
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