Sometimes one loss feels like two.
For the Dodgers, it had to feel a little like that Thursday. After a difficult, lengthy, ninth-inning loss to the Rockies in Denver, they boarded their late flight, touched down in Los Angeles about 3:30 a.m. and maybe found their pillows an hour later. Most woke up just in time to report to Thursday’s game at Dodger Stadium.
And that wasn’t even the worst of it, really.
“There are things that are going to happen,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “You can’t use it as an excuse.”
But just maybe as explanation.
The Dodgers were playing without Howie Kendrick, who injured his right knee Wednesday, and were already without outfielders Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke, all tucked away on the disabled list.
And of more concern was the beleaguered bullpen. Mattingly had to use five relievers in Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Rockies, limiting his options Thursday.
“There were a couple of guys we couldn’t use and a couple of guys we didn’t want to use,” Mattingly said.
Which made it fairly paramount to get some length out of starter Carlos Frias, which to his credit, he delivered. Frias pitched into the seventh, and if he was not sharp, he had at least kept them in the game.
But Mattingly was so intent on getting Frias to pitch deep into the game, he passed on an early opportunity to rally back against Michael Wacha. And he knew he was not going to get many opportunities against Wacha (8-1).
The Dodgers trailed 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth when they picked up two one-out singles from Jimmy Rollins and Enrique Hernandez to put runners on the corners and bring up Frias. Normally, this would be a pinch-hitting situation. But Mattingly elected to have Frias hit, advancing Hernandez with a sacrifice bunt. Joc Pederson struck out and that was the rally.
“You had to manage the team you had tonight,” Mattingly said.
The team he had left over after Wednesday's loss. And he wasn't exactly going all in with what he did have.