Rapid Reaction: Indians 5, Dodgers 4

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
3:41
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Just when it seemed everyone was sure the Los Angeles Dodgers were taking off and assuming control of the NL West, they played two of their worst games of the season. The sloppiness of Tuesday night spilled into the team’s first midweek day game, a slogging 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon.

How it happened: The Dodgers fielded a lineup without four of their regulars, with Adrian Gonzalez nursing a sore neck, Hanley Ramirez still bothered by an array of injuries, and Juan Uribe and Yasiel Puig getting days off. It showed, as Trevor Bauer -- who has had a far-from-smooth transition from UCLA to the major leagues -- cruised through the first four innings. But the Dodgers got to him with two outs in the fifth, scoring three times.

Reliever Brian Wilson, however, couldn’t preserve the one-run lead, walking the first two batters he faced during a three-run meltdown in the eighth. The Dodgers' search for a reliable setup man continues and might become a major focus before the July 31 trade deadline.

Hits: Ryu won’t be an All-Star once again. He’s the fourth-most deserving Dodgers pitcher and it’s doubtful Mike Matheny will take that many arms from one team. If he played on just about any other team, he’d have a shot. Ryu (9-4) has had only one truly bad start this season and has been on a roll for two solid months. He gave up a Ryan Raburn home run in the fourth inning, but was otherwise as smooth as ever. Without ever looking totally dominant, he always looks competent. Ryu has pitched nine consecutive quality starts, going 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA.

And the streak lives. Ryu didn’t walk anybody. Dodgers starters have walked two batters or fewer in 36 straight games, tying the 2005 Minnesota Twins for the longest such streak since at least 1914, per Elias.

Misses: It looked like the best left side of the infield the Dodgers have fielded all year, with two glove-first players in the starting lineup. But Carlos Triunfel booted a first-inning grounder. Then he dropped the ball while making a transfer, botching a double play. He also failed to turn around to receive a throw from Matt Kemp while covering third base in the eighth. Third baseman Miguel Rojas made an error on a fairly routine grounder. Considering neither player is hitting as well as .250, misplaying balls like that could lead to a quick demotion. Then again, Ramirez appears headed for the disabled list, so maybe not.

Stat of the game: Ryu went 2-for-3 with an RBI double to lift his batting average to .194. There are only 20 pitchers in baseball who have at least 20 plate appearances and are batting better than .154. That includes all five Dodgers starters.

Up next: The Dodgers were scheduled to fly to Colorado following the game. They begin a four-game series there Thursday with Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.78 ERA) opposing lefty Franklin Morales (4-4, 5.75).

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239