Rain in Baltimore Forces Dodgers to Play Doubleheader Saturday

Will a change of coasts help the Dodgers break their early season slump?

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had three against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week, is scheduled to pitch the first game of Saturday's doubleheader in Baltimore. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Can the ghost of Babe Ruth do more for the Dodgers than the spirit of Jackie Robinson?

    The Dodgers will find out on Saturday, weather permitting, when they play an inter-league doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards, just yards from where the great Bambino grew up.

    And will they fare better there in the home of Ruth, who changed baseball in the early part of the 20th Century than they did Monday when they commemorated Jackie Robinson's impact on the game at Dodger Stadium and proceeded to lose the homestand to the Padres?

    The doubleheader was necessitated by Friday's rainout.

    Saturday's opening game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m., PST, with game 2 to start at 7:05 p.m.

    The Dodgers intend to use leadoff hitter Carl Crawford as the designated hitter, inserting Skip Schumaker leftfield and have veteran newcomer Ramon Hernandez behind the plate.

    This is the Dodgers' first game in Baltimore since 2002, and they have not been particularly successful in inter-league. They are only 4-18 in their last 22 inter-league series on the road.

    They will send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound against the Orioles' Jason Hammel in the first game, and the Dodgers' Josh Beckett is set to pitch the nightcap against Wei-Yin Chen.

    The question only the Dodgers can answer is whether the extra day off helps them start recovering from their disappointing season to date. They are 7-8 for the season and have dropped five of their last six games.

    In Ryu, the Dodgers will use a pitcher who has had three strong starts on the mound this year, while Beckett last Sunday pitched like the classic Josh Hamilton, though losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to the Diamondbacks in what manager Don Mattingly said was his best performance since joining the Dodgers last season.

    The Dodgers will also be trying to turn around a bad week that worsened Wednesday night when staff ace Clayton Kershaw experienced a terrible outing in which he gave up three home runs.

    The Dodgers' offense also continued to fail with runners in scoring position. The left side of the infield has not been producing at the plate, and team slugger Matt Kemp is mired in a slump that Mattingly acknowledge has become a concern.

    Mattingly held a post-game clubhouse meeting in which he told the team their play and attitude is unacceptable.

    His team with a $200 million-plus payroll, he said, is playing like losers.

    Listen to how Mattingly put it:

    "The last few days we've gotten down, and it feels like we're way down. This club shouldn't feel like that. This club should be a club that feels like we're in every game and can throw a bunch of runs up."

    Or how about this:

    "We talked about what's acceptable and what's not acceptable and how do we turn it around. How do we go on? We can't sit here and say it's going to be OK. We have to continue to get after it, continue to work and make sure we're not sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves in any way shape or form." 

    And their attitude, he said, had been especially poor when they've fallen behind early in games.

    "You want your club to feel like we've got all day, keep it right there and we'll get some runs on the board and get ourselves back in the game," he told reporters afterward. "Right now, I can't sit here and tell you that you get that feeling on the bench."