The Dodgers had a rough game with men on base, leaving them scattered all over the place at Marlins Park in a 7-3 loss Saturday night that could prove costly as they try to keep a grip on first place.
Grit. The Dodgers never would have scored the game's first run if Shane Victorino hadn't beaten out what looked to be a sure double-play ball to the second baseman in the fourth inning. At 31, Victorino still has elite speed and his hustle out of the box is among the most consistent in the majors. When you play the game at one speed, you always have a chance.
New man. Javy Guerra looks as if he's ready to get back into higher-leverage situations even if he doesn't seize the closer job. He has been impressive since coming back off the disabled list. Guerra kept the Dodgers in position for a comeback by pitching two scoreless innings picking up the pieces for Joe Blanton. With his stuff, there's no reason Guerra won't be a setup guy in short order.
Heating up. This would be a pretty good time for Matt Kemp to go on a tear and carry this team to prime playoff position. He's showing signs. Kemp has eight hits in the last three games (13 at-bats), so it certainly looks as if he's capable of it. He has also driven in five runs in that time. If Kemp is, indeed, about to get hot, the Dodgers need to take advantage of it by pitching a little bit better.
Wasting away. The Dodgers loaded the bases in each of the first two innings without scoring. The second inning was particularly galling. The Dodgers had Kemp up and, eventually a 3-and-0 count. The umpire may have done the pitcher a favor with one pitch and Kemp did him a favor with another, striking out on a slider that was in the dirt and six inches outside. Kemp used to do that fairly routinely, but he has improved his pitch selection as he has gotten better.
The blahs. There's something nondescript about Blanton. He's the kind of pitcher who will win a lot of games if he's playing for a team with a good offense and happens to make his starts when it's firing on all cylinders. Those things weren't happening in Philadelphia and it's too early to say how things will go in L.A. Blanton struggled his way through five innings and couldn't hold onto a 2-0 lead the Dodgers beat him. It wasn't an awful outing, just kind of mediocre, similar to Blanton's recent career.
Disparity. The Marlins batted .600 (6-for-10) with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers hit .200 (2-for-10). That's kind of all you need to know.