Sunday, July 14, 2013
Vacation starts early for the offense
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- Considering the Los Angeles Dodgers have already played 94 games, it's inaccurate to say they finished off the first half with Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
All they did was polish off some last-minute work before going on vacation. Frankly, it looked as if the Dodgers' hitters mentally checked out for the All-Star break three days prematurely.
Until Adrian Gonzalez's fifth-inning RBI single, the Dodgers had scored one run in their previous 22 innings -- against Juan Nicasio, Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin.
Not exactly a ringing finale, splitting a four-game series at home despite big crowds. But the Dodgers built up enough momentum before it that it shouldn't leave a lasting mark.
The newest Dodger, Ricky Nolasco, who grew up about 40 miles east of Dodger Stadium, had a vocal contingent of supporters in the stands and came to the mound to some soulful ranchera music, courtesy of Vicente Fernandez. Nolasco has made it clear how excited he was to be out of Miami and pitching for his hometown team.
His first home start wasn't particularly memorable, however. Michael Cuddyer got him with an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run home run in the fifth, Nolasco's last inning.
The Dodgers had some action late in the game, sparked by -- who else -- Yasiel Puig. He came into the game to pinch-hit for Nolasco in the fifth inning and sparked the Dodgers' only rally with a one-out single.
The Dodgers got two runners on with one out the following inning, but Jerry Hairston Jr. took a called third strike and Puig popped up. The good news: Puig seemed to be running well, a good sign the soreness in his left hip is clearing up.