Chris Hatcher falters again in Dodgers' 3-2 loss to the Braves

Chris Hatcher falters again in Dodgers' 3-2 loss to the Braves
Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke went six innings against the Braves on Wednesday, striking out nine, walking two whilegiving up one run and three hits. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Chris Hatcher is one very frustrating pitcher. There are times when he’s dealing and looks a lot like the reliever the Dodgers thought might serve as their set-up man.

It’s just growing more difficult to remember those times, when his inconsistency is constantly marked by games where he fails to deliver. Games like Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Braves.

Manager Don Mattingly continues to show faith in Hatcher, using him during key moments, if continuing to show a much shorter leash.

Mattingly called on Hatcher to start the eighth inning with the score tied, 1-1. Hatcher immediately gave up a lead-off single on his first pitch to Andrelton Simmons and walked pinch-hitter Todd Cunningham on four pitches.


Having seen this before, Mattingly quickly brought the hook. Hatcher was gone after throwing just five pitches. And it was still too late, both runners eventually scoring.

Adam Liberatore took over and got two outs but then unleashed a wild pitch that sailed over the head of catcher A.J. Ellis and to the backstop as Simmons scored. Nick Markaskis dumped a ground-rule double into the left-field corner to score Peterson and the Dodgers were down by two.

Hatcher (1-4) took the loss and saw his earned-run average climb to 6.91. Team confidence in him has to be waning.

The Dodgers did get one run back in the ninth when Alex Guerrero homered off Atlanta closer Jason Grilli. It was Guerrero's ninth home run in 87 at-bats. Grilli got pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo, just acquired from the Braves earlier in the day, to fly to cener for the final out.

The loss cut the Dodgers’ lead over the Giants in the National League West to one game.

Zack Greinke did his part, but wasn’t involved in the final decision. Greinke went six strong innings, giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Unfortunately for Greinke, one of the hits he gave up was a solo home run to Cameron Maybin on full-count fastball in the third inning. Greinke retired his last 11 batters after the Maybin homer. He started and ended the night with a 1.48 ERA.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, weren't having any more success with Atlanta left-hander Alex Wood.

They finally scratched together a run in the fourth inning after Jimmy Rollins singled off the glove of Juan Uribe, who had been traded to the Braves Wednesday morning (initially it was ruled an error). Two outs later after Rollins advanced to second on a groundout, Justin Turner hit a sharp bouncer to Jace Peterson at second. Peterson reached for the ball on the outfield grass but it went off his glove and Rollins sprinted home with the tying run.

The Dodgers missed an opportunity to take the lead in the fifth inning. First A.J. Ellis lined a hit just below the 375-foot sign in left. It certainly looked like a double. But Ellis hit it so hard, and in truth is so slow, that the ball ricocheted directly to Jonny Gomes on one hop and he fired to second base, where his throw easily beat Ellis.

Greinke then beat out an infield hit and stole second. He looked like he wanted to round third and try to score on Joc Pederson's single to right, but third base coach Lorenzo Bundy wisely held him up. Rollins hit into a force play and the Dodgers were left without a run.