There was a time when Russell Martin was potent offensively and at had a knack for spectacular defensive plays (catching foul balls while falling into the dugout, for example). I don't know what happened, but Martin's 0-for-3 night tonight dropped his average to .260 and his OPS to .685 (vying for worst among Dodger regulars along with Rafael Furcal). And that wasn't even the worst part; Martin's errant throw to second to try and get a stealing Albert Pujols gave him an extra base, and Matt Holliday hit a sac fly to score him. Given Broxton continued onward to get the next two batters in the ninth, Martin's error (the Dodgers' third) was ominous, and ultimately, damning. Just a bit outside.
There was a time when the Dodgers could come back from deficits, particularly once they reached their opponent's bullpen and started dissecting their relievers like formaldehyde-scented frogs in a ninth-grade biology class. Andre Ethier and Casey Blake each homered in the seventh off of Adam Wainwright to tie the game at 2, which was promising. But Ethier's HBP in the ninth proved fruitless as Manny Ramirez (6-3 sac), Casey Blake (6U), and James Loney (7U) couldn't get Andre home to tie the game. Just a bit short.
And now the Dodgers are just a bit faltering and frayed, going into late August with a 3.5 game lead over Colorado and 4.5 over the Giants (both of whom won tonight). Colorado plays the Nationals again tomorrow, and SF plays Cincinnati, so chalk those both up as wins; then while we play the Cubs for four games (starting tomorrow), San Fran and Colorado duke it out over the weekend at Coors Field and I can't even believe I have to look up the opponents for other NL West teams when we should be running away with this frickin' division.
Get me a Guinness milkshake, stat. And hold the ice cream.