Lasorda Tries Extra Medicine, but L.A. Stays in Shock, 4-3
All else having failed, including lineup therapy and starting-rotation therapy, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda tried something new before Friday night’s game against Pittsburgh. He ordered his players to appear at Dodger Stadium for a workout. At 11 a.m.
For baseball players, this is known as shock therapy.
“The manager said we needed it, so we must have needed it,” Mickey Hatcher said, shrugging.
But there was complaining, most of it quiet but all of it lasting the entire one hour 45 minutes of the workout. But many of the Dodgers showed up at the park later with renewed intentions of ending their four-game losing streak.
Three hours later, in what probably will come as a shock to few, the Dodgers lost again. The Pirates, who had not scored in 18 previous innings against the Dodgers this season, got two runs off Orel Hershiser before the game was 30 minutes old and won, 4-3, before a crowd of 46,411.
“I just wanted to bring them out, show them I’m not happy with what we’ve been doing,” Lasorda said when asked about the morning workout.
And because two of the Pirate runs came on Dodger mental lapses, he is still not happy this morning. Considering today’s game is at 12:15 p.m., perhaps the Dodgers weren’t even allowed to go home.
“We’ve got to do something,” Jeff Hamilton said. “We’ve got to try something.”
Start with Friday’s second inning. Hershiser gave up a leadoff single to Bobby Bonilla, who took second base when right fielder Mike Davis bobbled the ball. But that wasn’t one of the key lapses. Hershiser then walked R.J. Reynolds. Gary Redus, filling in admirably at first base for the injured Sid Bream, singled to left field to score a run and move Reynolds to second.
Hershiser appeared to be out of trouble when he got Junior Ortiz to bounce the ball in front of the plate, but as catcher Mike Scioscia was throwing to first, Reynolds was coming around third and heading for home. Eddie Murray’s return throw to Scioscia didn’t do much good, as Scioscia wasn’t even back at the plate yet to make the tag, and Reynolds scored to make it 2-0.
Hershiser, who watched the action from the mound, acknowledged that he was in the wrong place.
“I think I should have been there,” he said. “I guess I looked kind of stupid standing on the mound.”
Said Lasorda: “Somebody is going to have to come in and cover on that play. The catcher goes out like that, somebody has to come in. You’ve got to react.”
Four innings later, after the Dodgers had made the score 2-2 with the help of a couple of Pittsburgh errors, the Dodgers were victims of an overreaction.
Jose Lind started the Pirate sixth by lining a ball off Hershiser’s foot for a single. Andy Van Slyke singled to right to move Lind to third, and then Van Slyke took second when right fielder Mike Davis ignored the cutoff man and threw all the way to third in a desperate attempt to get Lind.
“If you can’t get the runner, you’re supposed to hit the cutoff man,” Lasorda said. “The cutoff man is supposed to cut the ball off.”
The only thing cut off in that play was the Dodgers’ chances of winning. With runners on second and third, Bonilla doubled to right field, bringing in both.
Hershiser, who allowed four runs in six innings to raise his earned-run average to 2.41, was the loser in his first attempt at 10 wins, falling to 9-6.
In his last six appearances, beginning when he gave up no runs against Houston in a seven-inning relief stint June 3, he has followed a good outing with a mediocre or poor one. In his three good ones, he has given up no earned runs in 25 innings. In the three outings after the good ones, including Friday, he has given up a total of 10 earned runs in 18 innings and lost all three games.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh starter and winner Bob Walk, making his first start against the Dodgers this year after recording a 1.13 ERA in two starts against many of these same hitters last year, picked up where he left off, giving up two earned runs in six innings to improve to 7-4.
Walk gave up at least one hit in three of the first four innings, but the Dodgers couldn’t score in any of them.
They finally scored two runs in the fifth after Alfredo Griffin led off with a single. Davis then reached first as Lind muffed his grounder. A Kirk Gibson fly-out later, Eddie Murray singled up the middle to score Griffin. Then Mike Scioscia’s grounder to shortstop scored Davis, after Lind put the double-play throw to first into the ground. It counted as an RBI, only Scioscia’s 19th of the year and his third since June 4.
The Dodgers scored in the seventh on Davis’ fifth homer but they failed in an eighth-inning rally against relievers Doug Bair and Bill Landrum.
Mariano Duncan, filling in at second base for the ailing Willie Randolph, was removed from Friday’s game in the eighth inning when his tender right hamtring began bothering him again. . . . Pitcher John Wetteland was nearly removed in the middle of his scoreless inning of work Friday because of a severe bruise on his upper right leg, suffered when he was hit by a batted ball Tuesday against San Diego. . . . Kirk Gibson declined comment Friday on the holdup of him and his family by a gunman Wednesday night. “It’s over,” he said.
Just as Jose Gonzalez appeared to solidify his spot in the lineup as a center fielder/right fielder, he was sidelined for at least a day because of a strained left rib cage. Gonzalez first was hurt last weekend in Cincinnati, then aggravated the injury Thursday night against San Diego when he threw out Tony Gwynn at first base after Gwynn had singled and made a wide turn. Entering Friday, Gonzalez had 13 hits in his last 27 at-bats (.481), increasing his average to .362 in 26 games. . . . Bad Timing Award: Manager Tom Lasorda and Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka had tentatively planned to open a restaurant together but recently scrapped those plans when the commissioners of baseball and the National Football League advised against it. Reason? The restaurant was to be located in Las Vegas. “That’s OK, I understand,” Lasorda said. “It was just an idea.”
Mike Marshall had his best batting practice Friday since going on the disabled list May 31 because of a weak lower back. It appears Marshall will return to action next week, probably with the major league club. “I’m close,” Marshall said. “I’ve said all along that I’d like to come back by next week, and it still holds.” When Marshall returns, a roster decision must be made, probably involving either Gonzalez or John Shelby, since both are strictly outfielders.
Most pitchers refer to their work in terms of innings. Ricky Horton, the least-used player on the club, refers to his work in terms of batters. Between June 12 and June 29, a span of 16 games, Horton faced a total of six batters. Three of those were the same person--Gwynn, the leading hitter in the National League. “People tell me I’m coming out of a slump, and I say, slump?” Horton asked. “A couple of batters can constitute a slump?”
DODGERS ONE YEAR LATER
Year Pos. W-L Pct. GB 1988 1st 44-31 .587 +5 1989 5th 37-41 .474 -9 1/2