Dodgers come up short on defense in loss
There were times this season when the Dodgers wanted to put Hanley Ramirez on the disabled list. Each time, he refused.
On Friday afternoon, Ramirez felt his right side tighten as he warmed up in an indoor batting cage at Miller Park. Again, he insisted on playing.
That stubbornness, which has spared the Dodgers from fielding lineups with a light-hitting shortstop on most nights, might have been responsible for their 9-3 defeat to Milwaukee Brewers.
A game that should have been remembered for how Roberto Hernandez pitched in his first game with the Dodgers was instead highlighted by a nightmarish seventh inning by third-choice shortstop Justin Turner.
The reason Turner was at shortstop with the Dodgers protecting a 3-2 lead was because Manager Don Mattingly pinch-hit for the defensively gifted but offensively limited Miguel Rojas in the top of the inning. And the reason Rojas was already in the game — batting cleanup, no less — was because Ramirez couldn’t take the field in the bottom of the first inning.
“Obviously, you’re not going to be able to set yourself up the way you want,” Mattingly said.
Ramirez, who drew a walk in the top of the first inning, is scheduled to undergo a MRI exam Saturday.
Considering that his early departure affected how Mattingly managed the game, Ramirez was asked if he thought of scratching himself from the lineup.
Ramirez said he did, but added, “I don’t want to get out of the game. I don’t want to pull myself out of the lineup.”
Ramirez will be a free agent this winter and his perceived durability figures to affect his value. Ramirez has played fewer than 100 games in two of his last three seasons.
The Dodgers were tied, 2-2, in the seventh inning when Rojas’ turn to bat came up. With one out and men on the corners, Mattingly called on Andre Ethier to hit for Rojas, who is batting .207. An infield hit by Ethier moved the Dodgers in front, 3-2.
But Turner, who led off the two-run inning with a pinch-hit single, handed the Brewers back the lead.
After Rickie Weeks walked, Mark Reynolds was credited with a single on a sharply hit grounder that deflected off Turner’s glove and went into center field. Weeks advanced to third base on that play and scored on a squeeze bunt by Martin Maldonado that was clumsily fielded by reliever Brandon League.
Turner made a fielding error on a grounder by Khris Davis, which loaded the bases, and he made a throwing error on a grounder by Carlos Gomez, which allowed Reynolds to score. Maldonado and Davis scored on a single by Gerardo Parra to extend the Brewers’ lead to 6-3.
“It’s a classic case of I didn’t catch the … ball twice and I didn’t throw the ball to first base,” Turner said. “Everyone saw it. It’s as simple as that.”
The defensive meltdown cost Hernandez a victory.
Hernandez was acquired Thursday to replace Josh Beckett, who might not return from a torn labrum in his left hip.
Hernandez gave up two runs in the first inning, but was perfect after that.
He retired the last 17 batters he faced and completed six innings with a pitch count of only 65. He would have continued pitching, but Mattingly batted Turner in his place in the seventh inning because the Dodgers were trailing, 2-1.
Hernandez said he was pleased with how he finished the game.
But, he added, “I’d be happier if my team won.”
Follow Dylan Hernandez on Twitter @dylanohernandez
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