The Los Angeles Dodgers have played 21 games and the results have been a mix of just about everything. They began the season 4-1, then went 2-3 as they faced stiffer competition. Dee Gordon appears to have solidified the second base position, while Paul Maholm has struggled. So too have Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson and as of late, the Dodger offense.
That being said, one constant for the Dodgers thus far has been sloppy defense. After committing two errors in Tuesday’s extra-innings loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers now have 22 errors on the season, which is good for an average of more than one per game. Hanley Ramirez, who has struggled at the plate since being hit on his left hand but claims to be 100 percent, was at the center of both errors in the loss.
The Dodgers’ first error came on a ball hit to Ramirez that the shortstop was unable to field cleanly, which left runners on first and second with one out in the second inning. Hyun-Jin Ryu bailed Ramirez out by getting a pop-up and strikeout to end the top half of the inning. Ramirez and the Dodgers wouldn’t be as fortunate in the 10th inning with the game still tied at 2-2. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a fly ball to left-center.
Carl Crawford was playing deep in an effort to prevent a double and Ramirez failed to make an initial effort to get in position to catch the ball. Sensing Ramirez wasn’t making a concerted effort on the ball, Crawford came charging in, but the ball skipped off the tip of his glove. Crawford received the error, but it should be noted Ramirez made a late attempt to stab at the ball for a catch. Domonic Brown then doubled in Ruiz for the deciding run in the game.
Following the frustrating loss, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly voiced his frustration with the errors that have piled up, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
We’ve had a number of balls that probably should have been caught [this season],” Mattingly said.
Mattingly further went on to dismiss any notion of future success should the trend continue:
We’re not going to do anything if we don’t play better defense.”
The Dodgers currently sit in second place for most errors in MLB, one behind the Washington Nationals, who have 23 and are just one game above .500. Ramirez holds the team lead with five errors, followed by Tim Federowicz who has three, and has had the uncanny ability or misfortune, of being called for multiple catchers’ interference.
Mattingly hasn’t been the type to shy away from offering critical remarks to the press, and time will tell if his latest comments will have an impact on the Dodges. Last season the team committed 109 errors and are on pace to surpass that total. If the Dodgers are unable to cut down on their mistakes, it may be enough to cost them their lofty goals.
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