Have no fear, census tabulators: I've done the math, and figured out that we can't win a game when we score fewer than seven runs. Things looked promising when we eked out that magical seventh run in the bottom of the ninth inning (off a Manny Ramirez leadoff double and Casey Blake cashing him in with a double of his own). But another short outing from a starting pitcher, coupled with wasted baserunners in the ninth and tenth innings burning through the last remains of our bullpen, and we were left with little choice but to use Russ Ortiz for the 11th. We all know how that story was going to end.
So, change the rule to we don't stand a chance of winning if we can't score seven or more runs--and even then, it's in question. Yes, that's an inspiring rallying cry, something akin to Mel Gibson yelling "FREEEEEEDOMMMMMM!" in Braveheart. But come on, we had 19 frickin' hits tonight. Can't we get a win with that? No?
No matter how much of a lead our offense seems to spot the pitching staff early on--a three-run lead through three innings; a 5-3 lead after four frames--our arms can't hold on to the advantage. Or even hold on to the tie, for pete's sake. One would think 18 hits would be enough to register the win. Alas, not for this team.
Chad Billingsley had his expected shaky inning in the fourth, giving up three runs and the lead in a blink of an eye, and ended up lasting only 5.2 innings while giving up 6 ER (3 BB, 5 Ks). We needed Ramon Troncoso to get the elusive third out in the sixth, but after that Carlos Monasterios promptly gave up a leadoff HR to Justin Upton to make it 7-6, and we needed Ramon Ortiz to bail us out of the seventh.
Our pitching corps is so thin and the staff so unreliable, we trotted out fifth starter Charlie Haeger to have to clean up the ninth. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless tenth, and then Russ Ortiz came out in the eleventh and was thoroughly useless, using eight batters and giving up two extra-inning runs (Matt Kemp's misplay of a pop fly didn't help any, either).
The loss unfortunately negated the nutritional goodness of Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier (both 3-for-6), Kemp (2-run HR, his third in four games, and 3 RBI), Russell Martin (3-for-4), and two RBI for Ramirez (a perfect 3-for-3 before being replaced by Jamey Carroll (PR) and Reed Johnson (LF)). The wasted baserunners and for-naught offensive output were depressing, but it's not the offense who takes the rap on this game. It's the arms. Or lack of them. And I don't need a census form to figure that out.