Dodgers Report: Trevor Cahill
August, 31, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- At some point, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to run out of opportunities this plump and ripe for the picking.
They lost for the 10th time in 15 games -- this time 4-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 11 innings Friday night -- and the door closed another inch. Every team ahead of the Dodgers in either the division or wild-card standings lost Friday.
They remain 4 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants and 1 1/2 out in the wild-card race, a jumble of four teams.
Jason Kubel hit the decisive home run off Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier, and the game ended with Dodgers at first and third when catcher A.J. Ellis popped out to left.
Mis-matchup. Andre Ethier was batting .216 against lefties, so it's not surprising Kirk Gibson brought in reliever Mike Zagurski to face him with a runner at third and two outs in the sixth inning. Ethier didn't exactly crush the ball, but he made good enough contact to bloop it over lunging shortstop Jake Elmore to tie the score at 3. It was a redemptive moment for Ethier, who had lost a ball in the twilight in the second inning to let Arizona's first run score.
Bouncing back. You can learn more about a reliever off a bad outing than a good one. Shawn Tolleson probably will have sleepless hours thinking about his previous outing at Coors Field -- four runs allowed without recording an out -- for weeks. But at an important moment for the Dodgers, the young reliever flipped the script. Tolleson pitched two scoreless innings Friday, allowing the Dodgers to build a rally off Trevor Cahill.
Doubling up. The Dodgers, frankly, were more than a bit lucky. Arizona hit plenty of balls hard in key situations that landed in the Dodgers' gloves, and four of them turned into crucial double plays. It was a season high in double plays for the Dodgers. Luck is a big part of them, but the players still have to turn them. Luis Cruz made a diving stop on Chris Johnson's hard shot in the ninth inning, threw to second from his knees and started a key double play.
Softening up. Adrian Gonzalez's Dodgers career started with a loud noise -- his three-run home run in his first at-bat. It's the at-bats since then that have been strangely quiet. Gonzalez is 5-for-28 (.179) with just three RBIs since that swing. It's a small sample size, but then again, so is the amount of time the Dodgers have with Gonzalez in their lineup this year.
Power shortage. Matt Kemp looked a little frustrated striking out in the eighth inning, when he slammed his bat to the turf. It's not so much that he has been struggling -- when he's healthy -- but he hasn't been driving the ball consistently. Kemp is batting .271 since Aug. 8, but since then, he has struck out 19 times, hasn't homered and has 10 RBIs in 19 games. The Dodgers need Kemp on the field, but they also need him a bit more productive.
Nothing in reserve. Has there ever been a team with a less impressive bench? Don Mattingly had Juan Uribe (.186), Matt Treanor (.176), Nick Punto (2-for-13 as a pinch hitter), Juan Rivera (.240) and Adam Kennedy (one home run) at his disposal Friday night. The Dodgers looked long and hard at pitchers before Friday night's waiver deadline -- an attempt that proved unsuccessful -- but maybe they should have been trying to sniff out some bench help.
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