LOS ANGELES -- Maybe the Colorado Rockies are due to come tumbling painfully back to earth. And maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers aren't doomed to stay in this one-step-forward, one-step-back waltz with mediocrity all season.
But for one game in late April, the gap between the division's first place team and its fourth place team wasn't hard to spot.
The Dodgers had their worst pitching performance since last June in a 12-2 loss to the Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. Colorado stacked up 19 hits, or 13 more than the Dodgers could manage.
The snapshot of the Dodgers' night was utility man Skip Schumaker pitching the ninth inning (a scoreless one). He became the first Dodgers position player to pitch in a game since Mark Loretta in July 2009.
A tiny throng of fans left in the stadium chanted, "Let's go Skip!"
Ted Lilly, making his second start since coming off the disabled list, needed 71 pitches to get through three innings ... and he barely made it that far. The first four batters he faced had sharp hits, two of them home runs. Things got even messier, believe it or not, in the third, when Lilly walked in a run among other forgettable deeds.
Lilly, 37, had pitched well for five innings in the first start upon his return, last week in New York. He entered the season awkwardly, put on the 15-day disabled list against his wishes. Now, the Dodgers could be tempted to use rookie Matt Magill in Lilly's place next rotation turn. Magill pitched into the seventh inning in his major league debut Saturday.
Reliever Josh Wall couldn't live up to the standard that Lilly had set earlier. The Rockies scored seven times off Wall in two innings. Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood was 3-for-3 with two RBIs on three sharp singles in his first three plate appearances.
A Dodgers trainer visited both pitchers at some point in their outings, but neither pitcher left the mound due to injury.
As bad as things were, they could have been worse. Matt Kemp had a 92 mph fastball headed straight for his head in the fourth inning. He ducked out of the way and it appeared to carom off his shoulder and glance off his nose.
The few thousand fans that remained in the seventh inning were rewarded with a couple of little treats: Jerry Hairston Jr. homered to snap the shutout and Hanley Ramirez made his return to the field, taking a called third strike. Ramirez had thumb surgery March 22 and was activated from the DL on Monday afternoon.