The Dodgers needed the opener of their 3 game series against the visiting Diamondbacks who began the week with a 7 1/2 game bulge over the boys in the blue and with their ace Clayton Kershaw cruising with a 3-1 lead after 7 innings. Reliever Kenley Jansen came in and did his job in the 8th but closer Brandon League entered in the 9th inning and struggled after striking out the leadoff man before Willie Bloomquist put Arizona ahead with a bases-loaded, two-run infield single in a four-run inning, helping the Diamondbacks rally for a 5-4 win.
Juan Uribe did lead off the bottom of the 9th with a homerun to right but his Dodgers again left 2 men on (the tying and winning runners) and even worse they had a guy on 3rd with nobody out and couldn’t get him home. And to make things worser, (LOL) guess who was in the on-deck circle when Adrian Gonzalez grounded into the game’s final out? Of course, the new NL Player of the Week Yasiel Puig who could only walk away with the same frustration as the rest of his teammates who had to be totally disgusted at letting this one get away.
Puig went 3 for 4 on the night (improving his average to a keen .500) in his first stint as the clean-up batter after leading off in his first 7 big league games. And his last single of the night loaded the bases in the 8th inning before one of the worst calls you’ll ever see. Jerry Hairston, Jr. then grounded into a double play to third base although being safe from here to eternity. But first place ump Clint Fagan must’ve been watching a good looker in the front row instead of Hairston’s foot obviously touching the bag ahead of the throw. The replay clearly showed why some kind of instant replay has to be involved in a play like that from a credibility standpoint! And then Andre Ethier flied out to center to end an inning that turned into an unfortunate chance to build on the Dodger lead.
Manager Don Mattingly was not only questioned by us media types after the game for his handling of his struggling closer, but the sparse crowd remaining in the 9th inning let him know how they felt with some fairly loud boos heard from here to League’s home in Hawaii. You’ll hear Mattingly fully explain why he did what he did in the 8th and 9th innings, that it was simply a number’s game and who was the best pitcher for who was coming up in the D-Backs lineup. The only thing that I fault Don with was that there was nobody warming up behind an obviously struggling League who was allowed to fully blow this save when it could’ve been avoided? Maybe? Possibly? That’s why Donny makes the big bucks and I don’t!
Here are my sounds of the postgame from an understandably very quiet locker room:
Manager Don Mattingly:
Jerry Hairston, Jr.:
Game 2 of this series is tomorrow night with Zack Greinke vs. Ian Kennedy and with another two game swing on the line for both clubs…but most importantly for the Dodgers!