So which is worse? The Los Angeles Dodgers being eliminated from postseason contention or the fact that their elimination was at the hands of the rival San Francisco Giants? Or quite possibly the biggest base-running blunder committed at the worst possible time contributed mightily to the loss? The correct answer would be all of the above.
The Dodgers were floundering all game and found themselves trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning when catcher A.J. Ellis hit a two-run home-run to center, cutting the lead to 4-3. One out later, second baseman Mark Ellis hit a base hit to left that Giants center fielder Angel Pagan misplayed, allowing the ball to get to the wall. Ellis, who is not the most fleet of foot, decided to try to for third and the play and was out by a country mile.
And to add insult to injury, left fielder Shane Victorino followed with a triple down the right field line that easily would have scored Ellis from second to tie the game. Matt Kemp, who could have saved the day, decided to swing at a full count pitch at his feet, ending the inning. Kemp, furious with himself, slammed his bat down in disgust.
The Dodgers had a chance in the ninth, though. They got a leadoff single from Andre Ethier, who was pinch-ran for by Dee Gordon. Two outs later, Gordon stole second on a very risky move that was almost ended the game. That brought up who else: none other than Mark Ellis. But alas, he couldn’t redeem himself from his earlier blunder, lining out Pagan in center field and ending the game, and the Dodgers’ season.
Like each game over the past week, this game was the biggest game of the season. As the Dodgers took to the field, word spread that the St. Louis Cardinals were losing to the Cincinnati Reds late in the game, which should have given the Dodgers that extra boost. Well, it seems that word didn’t spread to Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano as he served up a solo home-run to Giants star catcher Buster Posey in the second inning, setting the tone for the night of horrors for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers would eventually get a run back in their half of the second inning on a Luis Cruz ground out, which scored Hanley Ramirez, who tripled to right before Cruz. It was quite frustrating as the Dodgers could have had even more that inning. Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning by belting a shot to left field that Xavier Nady managed to catch at the top of the wall, quite possibly robbing Gonzalez of a home-run and the Dodgers of a precious run. Ethier would later double in the inning, but would wind up stranded at third after Capuano struck out.
Hitting aside, Capuano really let the Dodgers down on the mound. He only lasted three plus innings, giving up two runs on five hits. But he was shakier than the stats indicated and there was no time to mess around by keeping him in the game and letting him work through it.
Kemp also had a rough game for the boys in blue. Along with his big seventh inning strike out, he struck out his first two at-bats and failed to come through when the Dodgers had their best shot to get back in the game in the sixth. With runners at second and third with two out, Kemp hit a shot that looked like it was destined to find its way into center field. However, the ball hit Giants starter Barry Zito in the leg, who recovered in time to throw Kemp out at first and ending the threat.
It was another frustrating game for the Dodgers, one of many this year. Only thing is, this one cost them any hope of the postseason. They finish out the year with a meaningless game today against the Giants. Then it’s on the next year, which Dodger fans hope will be much better for the club.