The Los Angeles Dodgers were back in St. Louis for the firs time since their postseason run came to a crashing end in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Although the Dodgers had played themselves to the top of the National League standings when Friday began, the first of their three-game series against the Cardinals went like countless others have this season.
The Dodgers relied on their starting pitching, which with Dan Haren on the mound is a risky proposition and they failed to cash in with enough frequency on their opportunities.
Manager Don Mattingly stressed the importance of needing to deliver in key situations, via Alex Halsted of MLB.com:
In close games — this is what we talked about before the game — it’s making that key pitch, getting that big out and getting that big hit when you need it. We weren’t able to get it tonight.”
The Dodgers lost by just one run in a game that could have gone much differently if they so much had one more hit or Dan Haren made one less mistake. Mattingly also added the Dodgers were sluggish in their first game out of the break:
“It looked like it took us a little while to get going.”
Frustration was abundant for the Dodger offense Friday — they finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Their only hit in said situation came in the seventh inning on an A.J. Ellis RBI double that followed Juan Uribe’s leadoff double.
Arguably the two most costly at-bats of the evening fall on the shoulders of Matt Kemp and Uribe. Trailing by one run, the Dodgers loaded the bases in the third inning with two outs. Kemp stepped in for his second at-bat of the game and struck out.
His failure to come up with a hit dropped the Dodgers to 11-for-64 (.172), which is an MLB-worst. Despite their series of blunders, Uribe was batting with the tying run on second base and the go-ahead runner on first in the eighth.
Uribe quickly fell into an 0-2 hole and fouled out on the third pitch. The Dodgers never threatened again.
Zack Greinke said some of the criticism the offense has faced this season has been unfair, but Friday’s game did little to support his argument.
Dodgers May Get Bullpen Help From Boston Red Sox