Relief pitcher Fernando Rodney #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays walks off the fielder after giving up four runs in the ninth inning to lose the game as the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate at Dodger Stadium on August 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 7-6.
"Dodgers Atrocious Defense Haunts Capuano In 6-1 Loss" was the original title for Friday's game recap, but that was before the Dodgers epic comeback. Twice the title changed in the eighth inning, becoming "6-2 Loss" and then "6-3 Loss" until it was time to stop adjusting a pre-written post and focus on an amazing game of baseball.
The Dodgers huge comeback has already been covered, but what about the events that happened before it? The reason the Dodgers needed seven runs in three innings was because the defense put them behind early.
Dodger starter Chris Capuano started the night off sharp, needing just eight pitches to get out of the first inning. Then in the second he induced what should have been an easy fly ball and groundout, but instead of two outs and nobody on there were no outs and runners at first and second.
Jerry Hairston and Yasiel Puig let a ball drop between them in left-center and Nick Punto couldn't get the ball out of his glove for a double play. So with two on and no outs, Yunel Escobar singled in a run, and ex-Dodger James Loney hit a two-RBI single to put the Dodgers down in an early 3-0 hole.
And thats just the second inning. The defense let down Capuano all game long, as another ball dropped between Skip Schumaker, Yasiel Puig and Mark Ellis, and Puig had several poor throws from center field. There were so many bad defensive plays that in the post-game press conference Don Mattingly was getting confused about which scenarios the media was trying to bring up.
Capuano left the game after 4.1 innings, losing 6-0 with five earned runs. Charging all those runs to Capuano was unfair, but "technically" the team only committed one error despite constantly poor defense. The only reason it is okay to charge Capuano with 5 runs is because in his last nine starts, he has only allowed five or zero earned runs. It looks something like this: 0 0 5 5 0 5 0 0 5.
With a lineup filled with reserves and backups (Punto, Hairston, Schumaker, Federowicz all started), the reigning AL Cy Young winner, David Price, tore right through the Dodgers, pitching seven innings, giving up seven hits and one run with four strikeouts. The only run they scored off Price came in the seventh inning when Skip Schumaker doubled in Jerry Hairston from third base.
Through the first six innings the Dodgers had six hits, but in the final three innings they got seven hits for seven runs. A tale of two totally different games, for an awesome turn around after playing so poorly to start the game.
The walkoff win is definitely a moral-booster, as if this team needs one, and could give them even more momentum through the weekend as Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw start on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully since they will be playing their standard lineup instead of backups the defense will play much better for the Dodgers' aces.