Even Quisenberry Hits as Dodgers Lose, 14-2
Of all the runs and hits and showboating and plain embarrassment heaped by the St. Louis Cardinals on the Dodgers Thursday night, the game can actually be described in one play.
It came in the seventh inning, with runners on first and second and Tim Belcher pitching to Dan Quisenberry.
It was the same Quisenberry who, with a bat in his hand, was 0 for 10 major league seasons; the same former celebrated Kansas City Royals reliever who, at age 36, has pitched in World Series games and All-Star games and done a lot of things in his life--but never gotten a base hit.
Belcher pitched the count to 2 and 2, and . . . now Quisenberry has gotten a base hit.
He lined an RBI single to right field, opening the gates for a 14-2 Cardinal rout before a crowd of 36,804 at Busch Stadium.
They gave the pitcher a standing ovation. Quisenberry tipped his batting helmet. The Dodgers crawled further under their caps.
“I’m going to put that ball up there with my other baseballs and helmets and dog leashes and photos of me looking at drives I’ve given up in the gap,” said Quisenberry, who was 0 for 3 in his career before his hit. “All I was trying to do was not embarrass myself.”
Speaking of embarrassment, the good news for the Dodgers is that the schedule makers allowed them to leave St. Louis, where they were winless in six games here this season for the first time since divisional play began in 1969. The bad news is, there are still 78 gamesleft in the season. And as a somber postgame clubhouse would indicate, the trouble could just be starting.
Start with Belcher. This was his seventh relief appearance, and for the seventh time, he was mad about being in the bullpen. His anger was increased not just because he allowed the hit to Quisenberry, but because he wasn’t even sure he would be pitching.
He revealed that he had felt in limbo until a decision could be made about whether John Tudor would be healthy enough to make his scheduled start today in Chicago. Tudor, coming off two outings of 4 1/3 inning or less in his comeback from arm surgery, hinted Thursday that he still felt less than great, and Belcher would have been a likely replacement.
But suddenly, Belcher said, he was thrown into Thursday night’s game. And today in Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs, even though Tudor doesn’t seem thrilled about it, Tudor will start.
When the media were finally allowed into the clubhouse nearly 15 minutes after the game, Belcher, who allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning, said:
“I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I hate the bullpen . . . and tonight, I wasn’t expecting to pitch. I’ve been in limbo for the past two or three days because of John. They’ve wanted to keep somebody fresh. But I was put in there. So I guess John is going (today).”
Several lockers down, concerning a shoulder that has given him pain since he left Sunday’s game after three innings, Tudor said:
"(The shoulder) is not any different today than it was yesterday, than it was the day before that. But they told me I will pitch, so I guess I will pitch. I don’t make the decisions around here.”
When asked if he had any reservations about pitching, he said, “Ask the bullpen if they have any reservations about me going out there.”
In Tudor’s two starts since attempting his comeback last week, the Dodgers have used a total of nine relievers.
When asked about Tudor’s readiness, an already steaming Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said: “Nobody told me that his start was uncertain. I have been certain he is going to pitch because nobody told me it was not certain.”
Lasorda was certain about one other thing Thursday.
“They beat us up, they beat us bad,” he said of the Cardinals. “And I don’t particularly like it one bit. I’m very, very upset.”
The formula for the loss, which involved 16 Cardinal hits, to just six Dodger hits off rookie starter Ken Hill and Quisenberry, was simple.
Dodger starter Tim Leary had his worst game of the season, allowing five runs in four innings. The Dodgers came back and scored two in the sixth to make it close. “They had us scared for a minute,” Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog said.
But just for a minute. Considering that the first three Dodger batters in the sixth all singled and considering that it still took a wild pitch by Hill to score one of the runs, while a Kirk Gibson single scored the other, it was obvious that the Dodgers had blown their chance.
And sure enough, it all blew up in the seventh against Belcher, and continued into the eighth against Ricky Horton, who allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Now, the Dodger slide has reached yet another season low. On June 15, the Dodgers were two games over .500 and within 4 1/2 games of first place. Since then, they have lost 14 of 20 games and dropped 6 1/2 games in the standings, falling to 11 behind. In those 20 games, they have scored 54 runs, an average of 2.7 a game.
Perhaps the most upset by the turn of events is Belcher, and for reasons other than John Tudor. In his seven relief appearances since moving from the rotation, he is 1-2 with one save, having allowed eight runs in 14 innings for a 5.14 ERA during that time.
“I prefer to start, and it’s always going to be that way,” Belcher said. “We all know that my getting sent to the bullpen wasn’t really a demotion, but still . . . it’s an unfamiliar position, I don’t like it, and when I’m unhappy, I tend not to do well.
“That doesn’t give me an excuse for throwing bad pitches. But you have to think that what comes out physically has a little to do with what is going on mentally.”
Upon Thursday’s announcement that four Dodgers would play for the National League in Tuesday’s 60th All-Star game at Anaheim Stadium, the four chosen ones expressed surprise. “I think that with the way we’ve been playing, there was a very real chance that the league’s best pitching staff would have no representatives,” said Orel Hershiser, who, as earlier reported, was selected along with pitcher Jay Howell, second baseman Willie Randolph and catcher Mike Scioscia.
Said Scioscia, making his first appearance: “My whole career I’ve never been a high-profile player. I’ve always been a team player, and that gets overlooked, and I accept that. I never expected any All-Star-type recognition.”
Howell admitted that he has had the best first half of a season in his career but said that nonetheless there was a chance he’d get overlooked. “I haven’t been in a position to get the league’s biggest save numbers (he has 15), but I know I’ve done the job when called upon, and I guess that was enough,” said Howell, who has allowed just four earned runs in 46 innings for an ERA of 0.78 and allowed just four of 18 inherited runners to score.
Randolph, meanwhile, said he was humbled to make it ahead of such standout second basemen as San Francisco’s Robby Thompson and Houston’s Bill Doran. “I knew it would be tough to make the team in this league; I’m just grateful for the recognition,” he said. “It will be something to tell the grandchildren.”
Outfielder Mike Davis has become the ninth Dodger to go on the disabled list so far this season. After he returned to Los Angeles from St. Louis Thursday morning to have his sore left knee examined, it was determined that both knees will need exploratory arthroscopic surgery, to be performed this morning. The surgery will put him out for a couple of weeks, and if there is any damage discovered and repaired during the procedure, he could be out for at least a month. He has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, and outfielder Chris Gwynn, who had been out since June 12 with a stress fracture on his right foot, was activated. Davis was hitting .250 with five homers and 18 RBIs in 157 at-bats. Gwynn is hitting .231 with no homers and five RBIs in 65 at-bats.
There were only 10 Dodgers on the disabled list all of last season. . . . The starting time for the Dodgers’ first game following the All-Star break, next Thursday night at Dodger Stadium against St. Louis, has been moved from 7:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate an ABC telecast.