Rapid Reaction: Brewers 6, Dodgers 3
August, 15, 2014
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- On most nights when everyone is available to pitch, the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen is capable of holding leads. But when its depth is tested, chaos usually ensues.
It appeared that at least one of the Dodgers' primary relievers was unavailable to manager Don Mattingly on Friday night, given that he allowed Jamey Wright to start the eighth inning with a two-run lead. It didn't go well. Wright and Brandon League combined to allow five Milwaukee runs in the eighth inning, and the Dodgers lost 6-3.
The Dodgers also are dealing with mounting injury concerns. The team put Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list before the game because of a strained gluteus, and Juan Uribe left the game because of tightness in his right hamstring, the same one that caused him to miss five weeks earlier this season.
How it happened: Zack Greinke has some of the best control in baseball, but he was oddly erratic and walked five batters. It didn't result in runs, but it drove up his pitch count. Greinke needed 99 pitches to get through five innings, in which he struck out six batters and gave up only two hits, both first-inning singles. It was not a good night for a short outing, with closer Kenley Jansen likely unavailable after getting four stressful outs in Thursday's game in Atlanta.
Dee Gordon and Yasiel Puig have been the Dodgers' offense the past two games. Gordon manufactured a run in the first inning, when he hit a little dribbler by pitcher Jimmy Nelson for an infield hit, stole second and went to third on the catcher's throwing error (stop me if you've heard this one before), then scored on Puig's single past the diving shortstop. After that, the Dodgers were fairly baffled by Nelson, but Gordon eventually did it again. He reached on a fielder's choice in the fifth, then stole and scored on a Puig single.
Hits: Gordon was having a rough trip until Wednesday, but he has sparked almost everything the Dodgers' offense has done lately. In his past three games, he's 7-for-13, and he scored six of the Dodgers' eight runs over the past two games. He also has four stolen bases in those two games and 56 for the season, which leads the majors. The next-closest player is Jose Altuve, with 46. Gordon is on pace for 73 this season, which would be the highest total in the majors since Jose Reyes had 78 in 2007. No Dodger has led the league in stolen bases since Davey Lopes in 1976.
Misses: A.J. Ellis is in one of those ruts where even his hard-hit balls result in outs -- sometimes two. He smacked a ball just to Jean Segura's right. The shortstop went to his knees, skittered his way to a throwing position and got it to second, and the Brewers turned a double play to erase a threat in the fourth inning. Ellis is in a deep, deep slump. He has only five hits this month and is batting .132. Drew Butera homered Thursday in Atlanta, and the Dodgers might start giving him more frequent playing time if Ellis doesn't start producing a bit more at the plate. They know how effective he is behind the plate.
Stat of the game: Greinke walked three straight batters in the fourth inning but got out of it by striking out Nelson. Greinke had walked fewer than three batters in 22 of his 24 starts before Friday.
Up next: The series continues Saturday with Clayton Kershaw (14-2, 1.78 ERA) going for the Dodgers against Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (7-6, 3.44). The game begins at 6:10 p.m. PT.