Somehow Dodgers bullpen melts yet again in 5-4 loss to A’s
Odd game. Odd in the beginning, and certainly in the end. But ultimately, familiar.
Clayton Kershaw pitching well but fighting a temper. The Dodgers doing nothing offensively and then A.J. Ellis belting a three-run homer in the eighth. Neither team being able to do much with runners in scoring position.
The game finally turned into a battle of bullpens, which would normally mean trouble for the Dodgers but statistically the Athletics actually have an even worse group of relievers.
But not Tuesday night, the A’s rallying to tie the score in the bottom of the eighth and then winning it in the 10th against Yimi Garcia, 5-4, at the Oakland Coliseum to hand the Dodgers one of their most distasteful defeats of the year.
The Dodgers also may have lost Yasiel Puig for an unknown stretch. He came out with a tight hamstring in the eighth inning. He previously missed six weeks with a left hamstring strain.
The A’s had lost seven consecutive games until rallying against Garcia in the 10th. He started his second inning by giving up back-to-back doubles to Mark Canha and Billy Butler. Very suddenly, it was over.
The game was tied 1-1 in the eighth, and the Dodgers to that point had managed exactly one hit. Then with two outs, they had three.
Puig started by legging out an infield single. But Puig came up limping and Carl Crawford came on as a pinch-runner. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier collected an infield single, Crawford holding at second. And then came the unexpected blow. Ellis drilled a three-run homer. For Ellis, who also walked four times, it was just his third home run of the season.
It briefly appeared the Dodgers were on their way to a 4-1 victory, with Kershaw in line to get the victory.
But in the bottom of the eighth, the A’s came roaring back against reliever Pedro Baez. Somehow with the Dodgers, it’s always about the bullpen.
Baez actually has been one of the Dodgers’ better relievers. But his first three batters went single, double, double. Then the Dodgers went to J.P. Howell, who gave up two more hits and the scoe was tied.
Then with runners at second and third and two outs, Manager Don Mattingly went to right-hander Jim Johnson, he of the 20.25 ERA as a Dodger. Johnson looked like he’s tired of that number. He threw five consecutive strikes to Billy Burns, who fouled off two before striking out.
The A’s started the scoring with a run in the second inning. Canha opened with a single and Kershaw walked Billy Butler. A sacrifice bunt and a run-scoring groundout and Oakland had a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, Kershaw uncharacteristically lost his cool. Upset with the calls of home plate umpire Todd Techenor, he barked at him. On the next pitch, Danny Valencia hit a tapper to the side of the mound that Kershaw dropped.
By the time he picked the ball up, Valencia was safe with an infield single. Kershaw took the ball and slammed into the turf. Then he picked it up and fired into the far side of the Dodgers dugout. Techenor appeared to have his head down and did not see Kershaw throw the ball away, or he could have ejected the left-hander. Kershaw also shared some words with Technenor the next inning. Odd stuff.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers could not do a thing with A’s starter Felix Doubront, despite his best efforts at assisting their cause. Doubront went six innings and allowed only one hit. He also walked six batters.
Walks finally cost him in the fifth. He opened the inning with walks to Ellis and Joc Pederson. A passed ball by catcher Josh Phegley advanced the runners and a Jimmy Rollins’ groundout scored Ellis to tie the game at 1-1.
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