Just an ordinary Joe

The Dodgers placed waiver claims on Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton earlier this month.

The Philadelphia Phillies let Blanton go, but not Lee.

The Dodgers’ 4-1 defeat to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night showed why.

Blanton departed from the field to the collective boos of the 56,000 fans who were drawn to Dodger Stadium by a bobblehead promotion featuring Fernando Valenzuela.


Blanton lost his third consecutive start and the Dodgers fell 11/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West, as he was charged with four runs in 52/3 innings.

He didn’t appear bothered by the hostile send-off he received from his new home fans, who watched their team fall to the Giants twice in as many days.

“I’ve played in Philly,” Blanton said. “That’s nothing.”

Blanton served up 10 hits, walked two and threw a wild pitch, but claimed he felt better than he had in any of his previous three starts with the Dodgers.


“Tonight, I felt I threw the ball well,” he said. “I felt it was the best I’ve thrown since I’ve been here. All singles, you know? Ground balls through the hole and bloopers in the outfield. You can just make your pitch. If the ball falls in, there’s nothing you can do about that.”

The 31-year-old right-hander won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008, but that experience isn’t doing much for him now. He has been charged with 16 runs in 15 innings over his last three starts. His earned-run average in his four starts with the Dodgers is an unsightly 7.71.

The 52/3 innings he pitched Tuesday night marked his longest start since he pitched six innings in his Dodgers debut on Aug. 5.

Blanton gave up four runs in the first four innings Tuesday, handing the Dodgers a 4-0 deficit from which they would never emerge.

He started the game by giving up consecutive singles to Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, then walked Pablo Sandoval to load the bases. Buster Posey singled to center to drive in two runs and put the Giants ahead, 2-0.

“Made a mistake to Posey,” Blanton said of the pitch he left up in the zone.

The Giants doubled their lead in the fourth inning. Blanton’s attempted pickoff of Gregor Blanco sailed past James Loney, allowing Blanco to get to third. Blanco scored on a single by Brandon Crawford, who later scored on a double by Pagan.

The Dodgers were down, 4-0.


The Dodgers took back a run in the sixth inning, when Matt Kemp hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, but the crucial play of the inning came two at-bats earlier, when Shane Victorino singled to center with two men on. Catcher A.J. Ellis, who was on second base, was sent home by third base coach Tim Wallach and was thrown out by center fielder Pagan.

The Dodgers were held two six hits, only one after Tim Lincecum (7-13) was removed with two outs in the sixth inning.

The Dodgers had only five hits the previous night.

About the only positive development for the Dodgers was that Kemp ended an 0-for-21 skid with a single in the ninth inning.

“He just looked more settled to me,” Manager Don Mattingly said.

Looking to avoid a three-game sweep, the Dodgers will send Chris Capuano to the mound Wednesday to pitch opposite All-Star Matt Cain.





Dodgers’ dog days

The Dodgers’ big two have slumped in August, but even Hanley Ramirez couldn’t help against the Giants. Here are their statistics for the month:

*--* PLAYER AB H HR RBI AVG OB% SLG ETHIER 71 14 1 8 197 256 250 KEMP 73 20 2 13 274 341 425 RAMIREZ 74 25 4 20 338 390 581 *--*