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Dodgers News: Hernandez And Rollins Explain 8th Inning Miscues



Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Factoring into the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to trade Matt Kemp and not re-sign Hanley Ramirez was a desire to improve the club defensively. With Kemp no longer in the picture it created an opportunity for Joc Pederson to take over in center field and Jimmy Rollins, though older than Ramirez, has better a glove and range at shortstop.

With Howie Kendrick out of the lineup a second consecutive game Friday due to a stiff right knee, super utility man Kiké Hernandez again filled in at second base. It was Hernandez’s third start at second base, and he’s also started games in all three outfield positions and shortstop.

Brett Anderson bounced back from what he felt was a subpar outing the last time around against the St. Louis Cardinals. The left-hander threw seven scoreless innings before catching one bad break after another in the eighth.

The inning began with a leadoff walk to Yadier Molina, who was pinch-run for by Pete Kozma. Jason Heyward followed with a grounder up the middle that Rollins fielded to the right of second base. Rather than attempting throw out Heyward at first base, Rollins flipped the ball to Hernandez.

The toss was slightly off target and everyone was safe. When asked about his decision to go to second, Rollins admitted it went against his usual instincts, according to Steve Bourbon of MLB.com:

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I go to first. But in crossing, Kiké yelled for it, I changed my mind,” Rollins said.

Rollins also elaborated on the difficulty of making such a play:

I’m going fast, he’s going fast and at that point, you can’t throw it to [Hernandez],” Rollins said. “You have to throw it way in front of him and the direction I was going, I felt like I had to throw it into left field. It’s not a play you practice much and I failed at it tonight.”

After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, the Dodgers defense again let them down on a Kolten Wong soft chopper toward first base. Adrian Gonzalez came charging in and held onto the ball once he fielded it.

Kozma easily scored to tie the game and Gonzalez didn’t appear to see Hernandez at first base, who covered for Anderson after the pitcher slipped off the mound in his attempt to get over. Had Gonzalez noticed Hernandez covering, the utility man believes it likely results in an out:

We probably would have had him,” Hernandez said. “That’s kind of an unusual play. The pitcher usually covers and he didn’t see the pitcher and he was worried about the other runner and he didn’t see me there.”

Instead, Matt Carpenter’s sac-fly broke the tie and gave the Cardinals a decided 2-1 lead built on two fluky plays. Anderson said in a postgame interview he wasn’t sure if he would’ve beat Wong to first base had he not slipped and chalked up the bad-break loss to being part of the game.

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Written by Staff Writer

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