I hate to overreact the day after a loss with hyperbole, but I honestly think (and hope) the Dodgers hit rock bottom last night.
In fact, if the season is going to get any worse from here, someone let me know so I can save myself the agony of a sleepless night like last night.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound and Yasiel Puig batting cleanup, the Dodgers welcomed the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks to town.
In desperate need of a win — especially against Arizona — the Dodgers were in good shape, with their three best pitchers slated to start the three game series.
Things began well for LA as they opened the scoring in the first on a Jerry Hairston two-out RBI single.
After Arizona tied the game in the second, the Dodgers added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth to capture a 3-1 lead — plenty of room with Kershaw on the mound.
As Kershaw labored into the seventh, I began to realize that the Dodger bullpen would need just six outs to seal the victory. Perfect.
First up was Kenley Jansen, who breezed through the middle of the Arizona lineup and earned Brandon League another save opportunity as the game headed into the ninth.
First up for League was Miguel Montero — no problem. With a nasty fastball, Montero swung and missed at strike three, and the Dodgers were two outs away from victory.
Then, things fell apart.
After Martin Prado singled to left, Gerardo Parra doubled to left center — placing the tying runs in scoring position.
Next up was Jason Kubel, whose infield single plated Prado and inched the Diamondbacks one run closer to tying the game.
After a walk loaded the bases, it was AJ Pollock with a chance to tie the game.
If only to make things more agonizing for Dodger fans, Pollock popped up to shallow center, leaving the bases loaded and the Dodgers just one out from winning.
That left things up to Willie Bloomquist.
For the second time in the inning, League induced a ground ball, but for the second time in the inning, the ball was perfectly placed for an infield single — a two-run single at that — giving Arizona their first lead of the game, 4-3.
With runners still on, Don Mattingly finally pulled League from the game, bringing in Peter Moylan — who eventually secured the final out after giving up one more run.
Now down 5-3 with the bottom of the lineup coming up, it seemed the game was hopeless.
Having loaded the bases in the eighth with no outs, the Dodgers failed to score a single insurance run. (A terrible call from the first place umpire didn’t help their cause, but even if Hairston was safe, there was no guarantee they would have still scored).
First up was Juan Uribe, who teasingly launched a solo home run to bring the score within one.
Then there was a double off the glove of the right fielder for Tim Federowicz and an error by Prado on a bunt by Schumaker that put runners at first and third with — you guessed it — no outs.
Needing only a sacrifice fly or a single, the Dodgers would surely get at least one run, right?
Well, first Nick Punto popped out to shallow left. Then Mark Ellis struck out swinging.
No sweat, though, because up came Adrian Gonzalez — the team’s best hitter with runners on.
As if only to twist the knife in any deeper, Yasiel Puig — who was 3/4 on the night — stepped into the batters box just to remind Dodger fans what they wouldn’t get to see.
The reason was, Gonzalez grounded back to the pitcher and failed to make much of an effort getting down the line as the pitcher bobbled the ball but still found himself with plenty of time to throw Gonzalez out.
So with five runners on base with no outs in the final two innings, the Dodgers scored a grand total of zero runs (outside of Uribe’s solo shot).
While the blame rightfully belongs to Brandon League — and Don Mattingly for refusing to turn closing duties over to the far more reliable Jansen — that doesn’t make this loss any easier to handle.
It was a wasted outing for Kershaw — whose 7 IP and 1 ER resulted in nothing.
It was a wasted night from Puig — who was 3/4 and has still yet to score a run on anything other than his own home runs.
It was a wasted night for Ellis and Hairston — who were 6/8 with 3 runs, 2 RBI and a home run.
So where does LA go from here?
They’ve got two more games against Arizona with Greinke and Ryu on the mound, and dare I say it, I think those games are must win.
If the Dodgers have any chance at contending for the division, they need to start beating Arizona — who has beaten them in six of their seven meetings thus far this season. Not only that, but the Dodgers are drifting further and further into last place — now 8.5 games out of first, and 2.5 games out of fourth.
So is this rock bottom? I hope so.
Do I believe it is? Let me get back to you in a couple days.