Thursday, July 25, 2013
Dodgers look a bit sleepy in loss
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- Many of the Los Angeles Dodgers players strolled through the clubhouse door after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, hours after they would normally report to work.
Manager Don Mattingly gave them a break after an all-night flight from Toronto: no on-field batting practice. They had probably earned a little breather after rattling off 23 wins in the past month or so.
They probably were due a clunker like Thursday night's 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but it still served as a reminder that, even after one of the most frantic months in team history, they haven't put anybody away. Their loss, combined with the Arizona Diamondbacks' win, trimmed their division lead to a half-game.
It wasn't the most entertaining start to a homestand for an energetic crowd at Dodger Stadium.
Zack Greinke (8-3) didn't pitch poorly. He did, however, hang a breaking ball over the heart of the plate to one of the National League's strongest hitters, and Jay Bruce flicked it over the left-field wall for a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
Up to that point, the Dodgers had been hanging in there despite making little headway against Mat Latos.
Thursday was Greinke's first loss since June 16. Ex-Dodger Xavier Paul homered off Greinke in the first inning and Cesar Izturis had an RBI single in the second.
The Dodgers didn't get to their homes until about 4 a.m. Thursday, and it looked like an unfortunate time to run into the hard-throwing Latos. The Dodgers had scored 41 runs in their previous four games coming into Thursday, but Latos was a little too much to handle.
A big crowd -- 53,275 -- on Vin Scully bobblehead night clamored for action, probably stoked by the Dodgers' six-game winning streak to start the second half. They didn't get much until Yasiel Puig did one of his borderline reckless things, rounding first base aggressively on a broken-bat single.
Shin-Soo Choo tried to throw behind him but sailed it wide, and Puig was awarded two extra bases when the ball went in Cincinnati's dugout. He scored on Adrian Gonzalez's groundout to second.
It was an embarrassing evening for Choo, who spoke to a large throng of Korean reporters in the Dodgers' interview room before the game. The Dodgers' middle infielders deked him into an easy out on Joey Votto's single in the eighth inning. Choo thought the ball had been caught and scrambled to get back to first.
The Dodgers didn't have much luck trying to rally against Cincinnati's All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, working on five days of rest. Chapman touched 102 mph several times and 103 with the final pitch of the game, pitching around a hit and a walk for a scoreless inning.