On a blustery night, Dodgers’ bats remain in a deep freeze
More fallout from this week’s flap between Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and center fielder Matt Kemp was evident early in Thursday night’s game between the Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
After Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw walked the first two batters, the Pirates’ Ryan Doumit lined a hit to center field and the ball went past Kemp’s glove to the wall, with both runners scoring.
The hit was ruled a triple. Still, it was just the sort of questionable defensive play that has contributed to the Dodgers’ slow start and that partly prompted Colletti’s criticism. And despite rebuttals by Kemp and his supporters that he shouldn’t have been singled out, the boos rained down on Kemp at Dodger Stadium.
Kemp took the blame for the play. “I should have kept it in front of me,” he said. “I can’t make no excuses. I just missed the ball, man. I don’t know what else you want me to say.”
But on a night so cold and windy at Chavez Ravine that it felt more like San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, it was the Dodgers’ frozen offense that remained the main culprit as the Dodgers fell to Pittsburgh, 2-0, for their fifth consecutive loss.
“It’s frustrating, no question, because after that first inning [Kershaw] pitched a heck of a ballgame,” Torre said. “We’re just in a slump right now.”
As an announced crowd of 40,185 huddled to stay warm, a bare-armed Kershaw (1-1) pitched relatively well for the second consecutive game, allowing only those two runs on three hits in 61/3 innings. The left-hander also struck out seven and walked four, one intentional, and threw 117 pitches.
But Pirates left-handed starter Brian Burres (1-1) and reliever Jack Taschner pitched well, too. Burres gave up four hits through his 51/3 innings and the Dodgers did not get a hit off either Taschner or closer Evan Meek.
Lately it’s a familiar story for the Dodgers (8-14), who started the season as one of baseball’s top offensive teams but had batted .192 and averaged only 2.2 runs per game in the six games before Thursday’s contest, the first of a 10-game homestand.
It was the third time that the Dodgers were shut out in their last five games.
They had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth inning, but shortstop Jamey Carroll grounded out. Blake DeWitt doubled to lead off the fifth inning but didn’t score. And in the sixth inning with runners and second and third and two out, Carroll again grounded out.
But Kershaw didn’t fault the Dodgers hitters. “You can’t give up those two runs early, and it’s frustrating even more that [the Pirates] didn’t really do a whole lot” after that at the plate, he said.
“Our offense is good, we’ve shown it for the first two weeks of the season, it’s just right now it’s one of those things.”
The Dodgers had a big scare in the third inning. After DeWitt reached third base on a one-out single and an error by Pirates left fielder Garrett Jones, and Kershaw walked, Russell Martin hit a line drive down the third-base line that struck DeWitt on the right hip. DeWitt crumpled to the ground but soon got up and walked it off.
When another pitch to Martin got away from Doumit, the Pittsburgh catcher, Kershaw tried to reach second but was thrown out. Martin then grounded out, stranding DeWitt.
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