Tuesday, August 28, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Rockies 8, Dodgers 4
By Mark Saxon
The good vibes from the Los Angeles Dodgers' bank-buster trade didn't last long.
They have lost three games in a row since Saturday, the day they completed a nine-player trade with the Boston Red Sox. And during Tuesday's 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, they lost their best player, outfielder Matt Kemp, for an undetermined amount of time.
Kemp slammed into the center-field wall in the first inning and left the game. The Dodgers said he has a right knee bruise and was scheduled to get X-rays on his jaw.
Ethier or. Mr. Streaky is going in the right direction again. Andre Ethier, who followed a 10-for-10 stretch with a 1-for-8 stretch, whacked a double down the third-base line and went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to .291. The Dodgers have a problem with offensive consistency, but over the past week, Ethier has had their most consistent swing.
Bouncing back. Hanley Ramirez came into this game in a deep, 2-for-20 slump. He hit an opposite-field home run in the ninth inning -- a good sign he might be emerging from this slump -- and also slapped a single to center. The middle of the Dodgers' order hasn't been as dangerous as they thought it would, but it could be if Ramirez gets hot.
Flashy defense. The Dodgers weakened their defense when they went from Dee Gordon or Luis Cruz to Ramirez at shortstop. When Juan Rivera is in the game, they don't exactly have great range. But they have generally been solid in the field lately, and Tuesday they made a couple of highlight-reel plays. Mark Ellis made a diving catch and Rivera hopped just high enough to take a home run away from Jordan Pacheco.
Losing Kemp. He had a bruising couple of games in Colorado. On Monday night, Kemp looked as if he might have gotten hurt when he went cleats- and glove-first into the wall. On Tuesday, it was worse. Kemp collapsed on the warning track dirt after going face-first into the padding of the center-field wall. He stayed down for several minutes and remained in the game, but when the next better hit a blooper to center and he dove for it, that was it. Kemp came out of the game. We'll know soon how long the Dodgers will be missing their best player.
Giving ground. Every time the Dodgers would start to inch back into the game, Chris Capuano let Colorado score. It was reminiscent of his previous start against the San Francisco Giants. With Chad Billingsley on the disabled list, Capuano is the Dodgers' clear No. 2 starter, but he's not pitching like it at this crucial point in their season. Capuano left a lot of pitches out over the plate and needs to tighten up his command before Sunday's start or the Dodgers won't have the pitching depth they thought they had.
Mr. Wrong. Jamey Wright has actually been pitching well lately, though typically in low-pressure situations. Tuesday he gave up two crucial runs that knocked the Dodgers out of rally range. At Coors Field, you look to stay just close enough so that a productive inning gets you back in things. Wright's ineffective, four-hit inning cost them that chance.