After a promising 3-0 start for the month of September, the Dodgers dropped the final two games of their three game series with the Padres.

The Dodgers did not lose ground in the National League West race, with Arizona taking two of three from the Giants in San Francisco, but the series got off to a great start with A.J. Ellis driving in the winning run in the 11th inning of Monday night’s 4-3 victory, however, the Dodgers would blow a 3-1 lead Saturday, and eventually lose in 11 innings, 6-3.

The Dodgers came back from a 3-1 deficit Wednesday night, only to again lose in heartbreaking fashion 4-3.

INFIELDERS: B
The Dodgers infield was relatively productive despite the Dodgers losing two of three games in the series.

Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, and Luis Cruz all hit safely in each game of the series. However, the hits did not translate to runs, the Dodgers had 31 hits in the series to score a grand total of 10 runs.

Gonzalez went 5-for-12 in the series with a pair of RBI, and is currently enjoying a four-game hit streak. Symbolizing the Dodgers’ struggles in the series, Adrian grounded out with a runner on in the bottom of the 9th after fouling off multiple pitches from Padres’ reliever Tommy Layne.

Mark Ellis was red-hot in the series going 6-for-15 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI in the series, stepping it up at the right time as the Dodgers need as much help possible in September. Mark also has a four-game hit streak, and has raised his batting average from .260 to .268 in just five days.

Hanley Ramirez drilled his 24th home run of the year, his 10th with the Dodgers, on Monday night. Overall, Hanley went 3-for-13 with a pair of RBIs in the series.

Luis Cruz continued his hot play, as well, going 6-for-13 with an RBI and a run scored in the series. Cruz currently has a seven-game hit streak, going 11-for-28 (.393) over that span.

A.J. Ellis went 2-for-12 in the series, but one of those hits was the game winner in extra innings Monday.

OUTFIELDERS: C+
The plus in the Dodgers’ outfield is for Andre Ethier who went 4-for-14 in the series including his 16th and 17th jacks of the year, and has a six-game hitting streak going including three home runs and five RBI during that span.

Matt Kemp struggled mightily in the series, going only 1-for-14, with perhaps the most frustrating moment coming on Wednesday night when Cameron Maybin‘s perfectly timed leap robbed Kemp of what would have been a go-ahead home run.

Shane Victorino broke out on Wednesday night going 3-for-4 and scoring the game-tying run, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Dodgers to take the series finale. The Flyin’ Hawaiian was 4-for-13 overall in the series.

STARTING PITCHING: C
No game was ever out of reach, but the Dodgers offense simply could not back up their pitchers with any type of offense.

Joe Blanton pitched into the 7th inning for a second consecutive start on Monday, giving up three runs while striking out six and walking two. Blanton got bailed out by Andre Ethier‘s 9th inning home run, and the Dodgers would wind up winning in 11.

Clayton Kershaw continued to make a case for a second-straight Cy Young Award on Tuesday, pitching seven innings of one-run ball, striking out nine and walking three in the process. However, the Dodgers bullpen would let him down as Kershaw went winless for the third time in four starts, despite lowering his ERA from 2.87 to 2.79 during that span.

Aaron Harang got in trouble early giving up three runs (two earned) in the first inning. He would settle down and pitch five innings. The Dodgers would chip away and Harang would leave the game to a 3-3 tie.

BULLPEN: C
The Dodgers bullpen was pretty solid for most of the series, but with the season winding down, and in a series where two of the three games went extra innings and were decided by one run, little mistakes become magnified. Ronald Belisario, Jamey Wright, and Brandon League combined for 4.1 scoreless innings of relief on Monday night, and League picked up his first win as a Dodger.

The bullpen would fail, however, after Clayton Kershaw‘s masterful start on Tuesday. Matt Guerrier came in to start the 8th inning allowing a single to Chase Headley. Carlos Quentin would hit the ball into the air for an out, but Yasmani Grandal didn’t miss, drilling Guerrier’s pitch (that was right over the middle of the plate) over the fence in right-center tying the game up 3-3. Randy Choate would close out the 8th and Belisario pitched a scoreless ninth. John Ely would enter the game in the tenth, making his first big league appearance of the year after being named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year at Triple-A Albuquerque. Ely pitched a 1-2-3 tenth, but completely unraveled in the 11th giving up three runs and the game to the Padres, taking his first loss of the year.

Shawn Tolleson came on in relief of Aaron Harang on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless 6th inning, but giving up a run on Carlos Quentin‘s sac fly in the 7th. The Dodgers could not make up the difference and Tolleson took the loss, also his first of the season. Choate, Wright, and League would combine for scoreless 8th and 9th innings.

The Dodgers will have a day off to regroup before heading up to San Francisco for a pivotal three-game series with the Giants. The Dodgers were fortunate enough to not lose ground to San Francisco who lost two of three games to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants and D’Backs also went to extra innings twice in the series.

Josh Beckett will take the mound against Tim Lincecum on Friday night. With only 24 games remaining in the regular season, it is imperative that the Dodgers step up and take control of the San Francisco series. The Giants showed some frustration on Wednesday night when Pablo Sandoval got into a shouting match with Arizona’s John McDonald after trying to apply a high tag to McDonald at third base.

Despite, their struggles the Dodgers have remained calm and kept an even keel. The hunt for the post season is about to get hot at AT&T Park this weekend.

Weekly GPA: 2.25
Cumulative GPA: 2.81

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