On a Cold Night With Colder Bats, the Dodgers Get a Bitter Mound Blow

Capuano Goes Lame

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and trainer Sue Falsone of the Los Angeles Dodgers watch as Chris Capuano throws a trial pitch in the third inning of the game with the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on April 16, 2013. Capuano tried to stay in the game, but an apparent calf injury ended his start.

    How much will the Dodgers miss Zack Greinke, the victim of The Brawl?

    The Dodgers began finding out on a bitterly cool, windy Tuesday night when Chris Capuano, Greinke’s replacement in the rotation, struggled and was booed by the home crowd six batters into the game.

    By then Capuano had walked in a run and was lucky to only be down two runs – which quickly became four when Alexi Amarista drove home a pair with a bases loaded single to right field.

    And you know fans must have been asking: How long will Greinke be out mending from that broken collarbone?

    Actually, the question for a moment was: How long will Capuano be out?

    The Padres wound up routing the Dodgers, 9-2, on a night when the Dodger bats were again as disappointingly cold and the pitching frighteningly mediocre.

    Poor Capuano. It didn't matter that he is a Phi Beta Kappa from Duke. He ended the first inning tripping over first base making a put out and, while making another put out at first to end the second inning, appeared to come up lame and limped off the field.

    It was a blown hamstring, the Padres radio people were saying. Shows what they know. It was a calf injury.

    Maybe Ted Lilly knew something. The finesse lefthander, reluctantly pitching another rehab start in the minors Tuesday, had been telling the Dodgers he was ready to fill in for Greinke.

    But Capuano wasn't giving up the rotation spot without one last try. He went out for the third inning but walked the first batter he faced on four pitches. What a waste of time. He took some warmup pitches. He wasn’t in pain, it seemed. He just couldn’t throw a strike, and manager Don Mattingly agreed and yanked him.

    Matt Guerrier was quickly called into service, giving up a double to Kyle Banks that moved Jesus Guzman to third who then scored on Nick Hundley’s sacrifice fly to center field.

    The Dodgers looked stunned. They hadn’t gotten a hit yet, and they were down, 5-0, with the recently burdened and unreliable bullpen already in action.

     Soon the rout was on, in what had become a wakeup call.

    These $200 million-plus Dodgers aren’t worth the price of an Upper Deck baseball card pack. They are mediocre at best right now, defined by a disappointing .500 record and a manager unable or unwilling to admit that his star slugger is a slug and probably not recovered from the shoulder injury that required surgery last year.

    Last week Mattingly said he had been thinking of shaking up the lineup, but there hasn’t been much shaking going on.

    And sending Kemp out, game after game, in the same spotlight batting third where he not only hasn’t been producing when he’s needed to but also often striking out badly, seems little more than riding a good horse to death -- something a horse breeder like Mattingly would should know not to do.

    Meanwhile, the Padres got 15 hits off six Dodger pitchers

    The Dodgers, on the other hand, were two-hit by Jason Marquis through seven innings while he walked only one.

    Those two hits were off the bats of A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe.

    Marquis also retired 12 in a row until two out in the eighth when Carl Crawford doubled for only the Dodgers’ third hit.

    Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Matt Kemp is only a shell of the hitter he was or could be again, but he is mired in ... if not in a horrendous slump, what do you call it?

    With the game still on the line, he struck out with two runners on base in the bottom of the third.

    After that, the Dodgers’ present fate was sealed. By losing back-to-back games to the Padres, they had lost back-to-back series as well.