Hard to know how they were feeling about themselves after Monday night’s 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals, but they didn’t leave a particularly confident impression.
The Dodgers played one of their most lifeless games in a so-far-miserable season. They misplayed ground balls. They flailed in their few at-bats in the clutch. But, above all, they stood and stood and stood, waiting for Josh Beckett to throw a pitch.
It’s hard to know how much longer the Dodgers can continue to run Beckett out there, particularly since they’ll soon have other options. Veterans Zack Greinke and Ted Lilly will be back within a couple of weeks. Rookie Matt Magill has shown promise at times. Zach Lee has a 2.61 ERA at Double-A Chattanooga. You could run through a lot of names before Beckett starts to sound like the more appealing option.
It’s mid-May, and he’s 0-5 with a 5.16 ERA. It's mid-May, and Matt Kemp has one home run. You don't need to know much else besides those two facts.
Beckett is often setting a slow, passive early tone. Monday, he plodded through three innings in 68 pitches, leaving the Dodgers’ bullpen once again to clean up after him. It’s not the first time he has done that. In fact, the bright spots are few and far between so far for the veteran right-hander. He has failed to get through six innings in all but three of his seven starts.
Beckett allowed only three hits and he struck out five, but he walked two batters who scored, including opposing pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.
Zimmermann (7-1), meanwhile, seemed pretty self-assured going after a Dodgers lineup that came into the game ranked 28th in the majors in runs scored. In the fourth inning, with a runner in scoring position, Zimmermann threw a couple of 94-mph fastballs past Kemp to pick up a big strikeout.
The game's most frightening moment came in the fifth inning, when A.J. Ellis sent a ball screaming toward the right-field scoreboard. Washington's brilliant young outfielder, Bryce Harper, couldn't catch it and collided face-first into the wall. Harper laid on the warning track for several minutes and eventually left the game with a trickle of blood across his neck.