Good news, bad news. The good news first: no one drowned.
Now the bad news. Your Los Angeles Dodgers went to San Francisco and were swept in three by the hated Giants, losing each night in one-run fashion, 2-1, 10-9 and 4-3. There was the usual trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, some ineffective relief pitching, an unfortunate start by a rookie pitcher in the first road game of his career, the obligatory strained hamstring — this one knocking just-off-the-disabled-list Hanley Ramirez right back on — and more than one ill-advised sacrifice.
The 13-17 Dodgers limp home losers of four straight, perched just a half game in front of the last place San Diego Padres. They'll try to right the ship, life jackets at the ready, with a three-game series versus the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning tonight at 7:10 p.m., rain permitting. Years ago the expression “O'Malley won't let it rain” would surface on days like these. Today I'm thinking “Let it Rain,” by Eric Clapton.
Taken out of context, Don Mattingly's ''I feel better about our club walking out of here right now than I did walking in” comment, via the L.A. Times, might seem strange, and perhaps even a bit alarming. In context too, to some degree. With a little follow-up however, you get the idea: “At some point, you ask guys to win battles, to win your at-bats. You can't control where it goes…We got runs late. We kept coming. I really can't sit here and be disappointed with anything but the loss.”
Mattingly's right about the getting runs late part, and it was exciting to watch the Dodgers battle, even though as you did you kind of expected them to lose in the end. I usually feel better about the club and their skipper the morning after a defeat like this — after a good eight hours in the fetal position — and such is the case today. And what's the use crying over spilled games in the standings? Better the guys feel good, or at least OK about themselves than not, right?
And look, there were a few bright spots. Clayton Kershaw — yet again — led his team with his glorious pitching, and scored L.A.'s only run of the night after doubling in Friday's loss. Seven innings, three hits, one earned and five strikeouts.
Dee Gordon flew in from Albuquerque and provided the spark some of us hoped for. Replacing the injured Ramirez at shortstop, Gordon had three hits, including a triple in seven at bats, drove in three and was successful in this three stolen base attempts.
Paco Rodriguez got out of a harrowing bases loaded, no outs jam Saturday night, with the only run scoring on a wild pitch that should have been fielded by his catcher, A.J. Ellis.
And Adrian Gonzalez, hobbled by a stiff neck and sporting a brace for much of the weekend, walked off the bench to contribute the key hit — a two-run single off lefty specialist Jeremy Affeldt — in the eighth inning last night to get the Dodger close.
We keep waiting for a roster shakeup of one form or another, or at the very least some decisiveness about the injured Mark Ellis, who hasn't played in ten days. Chris Capuano returns from a calf injury to pitch tonight and most expect Los Angeles to flip Ellis to the disabled list in his stead. But who knows?
More importantly, every Dodger fan and his blogging brother, led by Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness, wants Luis Cruz designated for assignment. The Dodgers are agonizingly slow to cut ties with a player in this manner, but with healthy (and useful) bodies very much in need, perhaps today is the day. There's concern in the organization that Cruz might be claimed by another club, and lost to the Dodgers forever. The obvious refrain from the masses? “He won't be, and so what if he is?”
I'm an area code away from Chavez Ravine, and as I conclude this post I see the sun breaking through the gloom, and hear the birds chirping. So no rainout tonight, I suppose, and we'll have to make do. What comes to mind is the famous line about baseball, from its former commissioner and Yale president, A. Bartlett Giamatti: “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.”
Baseball does break your heart; it is designed to break your heart. Just not in May.