Friday, May 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pirates 2, Dodgers 1
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- Three steps forward, three steps back.
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain stuck in their waltz to nowhere after Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was their third loss in a row after a modest three-game winning streak and pushed them a season-high 7½ games behind the San Francisco Giants, who aren't slowing down.
The Dodgers' longest winning streak this season is three games. Their longest losing streak this season is three games. They have been practically lifeless at home, scoring an average of 3.7 runs at Dodger Stadium and going 11-16 here.
How it happened: The Dodgers were cautious with Josh Beckett coming off Sunday's no-hitter, pulling him after five innings and 88 pitches. Beckett, like a lot of no-hit pitchers, found the going tough in his return to the mound. He gave up two runs and five hits. Meanwhile, the Dodgers had a maddening day in the batter's box against lefty Francisco Liriano, flailing futilely at his dead-fish changeup. The Dodgers got at least one runner into scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings but couldn't score. L.A. struck out 13 times.
Hits: The Dodgers' best opportunity came in the fifth inning, when they loaded the bases with two outs and had their best hitter, Yasiel Puig, at the plate. They wouldn't have been in that position if not for a great at-bat by veteran Chone Figgins, who worked a walk (his ninth in 43 plate appearances) during an 11-pitch at-bat. Puig then hit a lazy fly ball to second to end the threat. Figgins also had a leadoff single and scored in the eighth.
Misses: Who knows where this Matt Kemp drama is headed. He appears to be putting in the work in left field. He did early work there Friday afternoon. But Kemp doesn't seem happy and he isn't productive. He is 0 for his past 18 with seven strikeouts.
Stat of the game: A Dodger hasn't led the league in steals since Davey Lopes in 1975, but if he stays healthy and can continue getting on base, Dee Gordon looks to be a lock. He stole two more bases and has 34 on the season, 15 more than the next-closest player.
Up next: The Dodgers try to end their three-game losing streak Saturday afternoon behind Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2, 3.10 ERA), who opposes Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 3.38). The game begins at 4:15 p.m., and is followed on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard by the movie, "A League of Their Own."