Dodgers Report: Francisco Liriano

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 2, Dodgers 1

May, 30, 2014
May 30
10:49
PM PT


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."
LOS ANGELES – On the way out of the Dodgers’ home clubhouse, players walking toward the coaches’ offices can’t help but notice a piece of paper dangling over the doorway.

Written on a piece of plain paper with a sharpie, it says, “Live together or die alone.”
Utility player Scott Van Slyke put it there. He heard the phrase while watching the second season of, “Lost,” and figured it had some crossover to what the Dodgers are trying to accomplish. Granted, they’re not trying to avoid venomous snakes, but they are trying to overcome a 6 game deficit in the NL West.

“They correlate, right?” Van Slyke said. “Let’s pretend we’re in the jungle, the jungle of MLB.”

Van Slyke, whose career appeared to be on the rocks two springs ago after the Dodgers took him off their 40-man roster and declined to invite him to major league spring training, has proven to be a useful bench player the past two seasons. He is batting .254, but has walked 10 times and has a .362 on-base percentage, plus has slugged .576.

He's also a popular player in the clubhouse and grew up around winning teams with his father, Andy, a longtime major-league outfielder who reached the playoffs four times and played in the 1985 World Series.

Scott Van Slyke probably would have played more, but most of the season he has been stuck behind four well-paid outfielders and one first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, who rarely takes a day off. Before Friday, when Van Slyke filled in at first base, Gonzalez had started 53 of the Dodgers’ 55 games. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the plan was to give Gonzalez, 32, more rest this season.

It just hasn’t quite worked out that way.

“We just want to keep him strong,” Mattingly said. “He’s getting a little bit older. Obviously, he’s not ancient, but we feel like a couple extra days off during the season is going to help him.”

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
15 1.82 184 153
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .309
HRA. Gonzalez 17
RBIA. Gonzalez 83
RY. Puig 69
OPSY. Puig .900
ERAC. Kershaw 1.82
SOC. Kershaw 184