- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Dodgers have lost in a lot of ways this season, which is not surprising since they’re six games under .500 in mid-May.
Most frequently, it has been insufficient offense. Sometimes, it has been bad pitches by relievers. Occasionally, the starting pitcher has flamed out early.
Friday night, it was fielding that let them down. Luis Cruz and Carl Crawford made costly errors, Dee Gordon misplayed another grounder and the Dodgers lost 8-5 to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Only four teams in the majors have made more errors than the Dodgers' 30.
When Cruz dropped a line drive in the sixth inning, it meant lefty Paco Rodriguez had to face the most dangerous slugger in the National League this season, Justin Upton, with the bases loaded and one out. To the surprise of few, Upton slugged a massive grand slam, his 14th home run this season.
For the first time this season, Hyun-Jin Ryu didn't make it through the sixth inning, putting a bit of strain on the Dodgers' overworked bullpen. He held the Braves to two runs and five hits, but five walks took their toll, his pitch count hitting 100 after five innings.
Cruz's roster spot appears to be in imminent danger. Mark Ellis could be returning from the disabled list in a matter of days and Cruz is batting .097.
No Dodgers hitter is within eight of Upton's lead league in homers, but the team did see a little slugging from its bench, at long last. Scott Van Slyke, who had been pounding the Pacific Coast League before his promotion last week, hit a pair of home runs and made a sliding catch near the right-field line.