It is hours after Sunday's game has ended and I am still more frustrated (and angry) than a kid at junior high school cotillion. What a fucking disaster. Losing 4-2 after holding a 2-0 and 2-1 lead late is bad; dropping said game at home (and dropping a home series for the first time in over nine months), on national television is worse. But the absolute worst part about this game, which I watched almost end-to-end for the first time all season, was just evisceratingly horrible...because any Dodger fan knew we were destined to lose.
First off, there were so many missed opportunities. Even with a laboring Lance Lynn who could barely make it through five innings (and not without considerable concern from the entire ESPN broadcast booth, the St. Louis Cardinals trainers, and probably outside a 50-mile radius from Dodger Stadium--the Dodgers could not take advantage. Andre Ethier, who had three strikeouts and a walk today, had better not be mentioned as a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year any longer--certainly not after killing Dodger rallies with Ks in the first inning (Justin Turner with a two out double to score Yasiel Puig) as well as the third inning (Turner, again, singling home Zack Greinke from second). Ethier had a nice catch over the left field wall in the eighth inning, but the Cards had already taken a 3-2 lead by then and really, who the hell cares. Ethier was an abyss today. If you want comedy, watch him get tagged out at home in the bottom of the sixth off Rollins single to right; Ethier, his bone-creaking stride, and his walker were all out by a country mile.
The Dodgers' best chance to break the game open was in the fifth inning, with Lynn having labored through the fourth without any velocity of note, and having ceded a Greinke leadoff single followed by a Joc Pederson walk. Two on, none out: we got this, right? Nope, Puig flies weakly to center; Adrian Gonzalez (0-for-4 with 5 LOB) flied to left, and Justin Turner flied to right. Threat over; Metheny went to the bullpen and they held us in check from there.
Don't even get me started on Jimmy Rollins, 1-for-4 in the eight hole. What a waste J-Roll has been, relative to the potential that we had seen in seasons past. I know Rollins is a veteran and I harbor hope that he will provide leadership for this team. Meanwhile, however, Dee Gordon, of whom I admittedly was not always a fan, is now batting .372 for the Marlins and leading the NL in batting average and hits.
The Dodgers went 2-for-9 with RISP and pissed all over a great 6.2 IP outing from Greinke, who gave up a solo HR but struck out 8 with one walk. Juan Nicasio let three runs in late, including one charged to Adam Liberatore who had walked Matt Carpenter. Why Nicasio, you might ask? So did the LAT's Dylan Hernandez: To protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning Sunday night, the Dodgers turned to … Juan Nicasio?
And Greinke's outing goes for naught.
As I said earlier, though, the worst part of all of this was that any Dodger fan knew this was coming. Even with a 2-0 and 2-1 lead, you knew we couldn't hold this against a good team like the Cardinals. As cliched and sophomoric as the whole gritty grit grit narrative that St. Louis cultivates through a parroting media is...you look at our team, which sans Howie Kendrick (who is hurt with a knee injury, but Don Mattingly still had bat late in the game anyway, which makes no sense), is full of streaky hitters who can get just as cold as they can get hot. And if Pederson keeps whiffing (0-for-3 with 2 Ks, now batting .258) in the leadoff spot; Puig (2-for-4) remains unpredictable; Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal (0-for-4) both stay cold...we've got serious offensive problems (as indicated by our lack of runs the last two weeks).
On top of all that, can someone please explain: why Enrique Hernandez. 0-for-3 today, Hernandez looked totally overmatched at the plate to the point that you wonder if he belongs at the major league level at all. He is so bad, we don't even have a label for him yet on this blog (and I'm not initiating said label today). What is Hernandez doing in the lineup? In fact, what logic has Mattingly put into the lineup in the first place (see Saturday's GT for another head-scratcher)? Madness.
I have a friend who believes that Bruce Bochy is a genius for asking Mattingly to be on the All-Star Game coaching staff, as it is a deliberate ploy to promote the charade that Mattingly knows what he is doing. Not after a showing like Sunday, which was an absolute turd: the wrong lineup, the wrong relievers, the wrong in-game coaching decisions. It's a hot mess.
We've got sub-.500 Arizona coming into town, which might put lipstick on this pig. But it still ain't pretty. And I'm fucking pissed off about this team, who owe it to Dodger fans to deliver something better.