The changing of the guard in the National League West took place Saturday night, and it had nothing to do with the Dodgers. The Atlanta Braves’ crushing of the San Diego Padres moved them into first place ahead of the San Francisco Giants, who lost their fourth consecutive game.
Meanwhile, back at Dodger Stadium, as Bryan Harvey was in the process of recording his 43th save, one couldn’t help but wonder: Why is it that the Dodgers, one of the few teams to have a winning record against the Giants this season, have so much trouble beating the Florida Marlins?
In a season where the only consistency has been their inconsistency, the Dodgers continue to hover in mediocrity, this time falling to the Marlins, 3-2, before an announced crowd of 36,473.
The Marlins have defeated the Dodgers in five of 11 games, and Saturday’s victory seemed to come more easily than the score indicated.
Against Tom Candiotti (8-7), the Marlins had a 3-0 lead after four innings and held on while using six pitchers as the Dodgers left 11 runners on base.
For Candiotti, it was another tough loss.
“It gets to the point where words don’t describe how I feel,” Candiotti said. “I’ve always heard about that, but now I feel it.”
For the Dodgers, though, the changing of the guard has little to do with the standings or this season. The loss dropped them to 19 games behind the Braves; their elimination number is three. But their future is with their youth--and a mix of veterans that the Dodgers hope will include Jody Reed.
“I like it here, and I would like to come back,” said Reed, who made $2.5 million this season and will be a free agent. “I like the way I have been treated by the organization and the fans. It’s brought an excitement of the game back to me that was starting to slip in Boston. It’s given me a fresh start and picked up my career. Hopefully, I haven’t let them down.”
The Dodgers are so impressed with Reed, 31, that Fred Claire, executive vice president, has begun negotiations and would like to sign Reed--who wants a multiyear contract--before the season ends. He will talk to Reed’s agent again this week.
Talk has swirled that Reed will be hesitant to sign with the Dodgers unless Claire makes some changes, but Reed says that is not true. “You know me, I just want to win,” Reed said. “I don’t care about winning awards. . . . I just want to win a championship.”
To do that, the Dodgers are going to have play better than they did Saturday. They had runners in scoring position in the early innings, but didn’t score until the fifth.
Marlin starter David Weathers (2-0), making his second consecutive start, pitched out of jams in the first and third innings, each time stranding Brett Butler on third base. In the third, Butler and Jose Offerman, who had hit consecutive singles with one out, moved to second and third on a double steal--Butlers’ 35th stolen base and Offerman’s 29th. But Mike Piazza and Eric Karros struck out.