Their losing streak pushed to four games by a 2-0 defeat to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday night, the Dodgers were still a long way from that point at which chairs are thrown, bats are smashed and expletives are shouted. The more traditional observance of silence would do.
But there were signs of frustration beneath the soft-spoken words in the clubhouse, manager and players alike lamenting the chances blown by the Dodgers on their way to being swept in three games in Manny Ramirez’s old ballpark.
“What do you want?” snapped Andre Ethier, who was 0 for 3, extending his hitless streak to 16 at-bats.
Casey Blake sat at his locker, passing his hands through the closely trimmed hair on the back of his bowed head.
Told of Manager Joe Torre’s opinion that an off day Monday could help the Dodgers regroup, Blake responded, “Half an off day.”
Because the game Sunday was televised nationally by ESPN, it started at 8:11 p.m. EDT. The Dodgers wouldn’t leave Boston until well past midnight.
There wasn’t much for the Dodgers to celebrate this weekend.
In his first games at Fenway since his he-said-he-said departure from Boston, Ramirez didn’t get the overwhelmingly warm reception he told his teammates he would receive. On Fox’s national telecast of the game Saturday, broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver mocked Dodgers owner Frank McCourt for having paid Russian healer Vladimir Shpunt for five years to send his team positive energy from his Boston-area home. In the last two games, the Dodgers had a combined 10 hits, only four on Sunday.
Blake DeWitt took home an unwanted souvenir, a bruise behind his right knee, courtesy of a pitch by Clay Buchholtz that forced him out of the game in the seventh inning. DeWitt said he lost feeling in his leg, but that X-rays came back negative and he would be ready to play Tuesday against the Angels.
The pitch that hit DeWitt was the last thrown by Buchholtz, who got his 10th win of the season by blanking the Dodgers over 62/3 innings.
The Dodgers had a shot at him early, loading the bases with one out in the first and getting two men on with one out in the second.
Buchholtz (10-4) struck out Garret Anderson and forced Blake to ground out to get out of the first jam. He got Matt Kemp to line into a double play to escape the second.
Blake looked back at the first inning with regret.
“That’s the difference between that guy maybe having a rough outing and having a real good one,” he said. “If G or I get a hit right there, it’s a different story. That’s what happens when you’re not winning ballgames. You’re not coming up with those hits like that. That’s the story of the night. It changes that whole complexion of the game.”
Wasted were seven strong innings by Hiroki Kuroda. But he wasn’t blameless, either, as he forgot to cover third base when Dustin Pedroia stole second base in the first inning. With David Ortiz at the plate and Blake standing in the middle of the infield as part of the Dodgers’ defensive shift, Pedroia was able to scamper to an unmanned bag at third when catcher Russell Martin’s throw skipped past shortstop Jamey Carroll.
Pedroia went on to score the first run of the game on an infield single by Kevin Youkilis.
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