Brandon League Blows Lead For Los Angeles Dodgers

By Matthew Muench
Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

You have to wonder if the Los Angeles Dodgers sit in the clubhouse before the game and decide who is going to be the reason they lose that night’s game. On Monday night, Brandon League drew the short straw, raised his hand or pulled his name out of the hat.

League, the Dodgers’ closer, blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning by allowing four runs, four hits and one walk against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in a crucial series-opener for the Dodgers. Out of the 36 losses for the Blue Crew this season, this one may hurt the most.

In a matter of minutes, the Dodgers went from possibly being 6.5 games out of first place to 8.5 games back from the D-backs, who have beaten L.A. six out of seven times this year and a whopping 16 of the last 19 meetings dating back to 2012. Snake-bitten by the D-backs may be an understatement at this point. This is strangulation.

This next sentence is copied and pasted from many previous blogs: the loss also spoils another great pitching performance by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. He allowed just one run through seven innings. The Dodgers would be bad poker players — the ace should win every time out, but the Dodgers keep folding when Kershaw steps on the mound.

He is now 5-4 on the season with five no decisions while posting a league-best 1.88 ERA. The Dodgers have not won a game that Kershaw started since May 20. Do the math, and that’s his last four starts. What a waste of talent. Kershaw won’t say it, but he has to be livid. He is all by himself out there.

It should’ve been a W on Monday. The Dodgers got three hits from Yasiel Puig (now an unbelievable 16-for-32 on the season), Jerry Hairston and Mark Ellis, but still managed to just get four runs while stranding eight base runners. In the eighth inning, the Dodgers had the bases loads with nobody out and they flopped by putting up zero runs. Yes, the D-backs got a little help from a bad call by the first-base umpire, but you can’t win games if you can’t hit with the bases loaded.

It still might be a little early to start calling games “must-win.” But if the Dodgers lose the next two, they will be 10.5 games back of first place. Two wins would keep them in the hunt and put them 6.5 games back. Maybe it’s time to draw straws to see who will be a hero and not a zero.

Matthew Muench writes about the Los Angeles Dodgers for Follow him on Twitter @MatthewMuench and add him to your network at Google+.

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