For the second time in three days, the Dodgers offense was virtually nonexistent.
The response in the clubhouse to the team’s 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday was similar to what it was after a shutout loss in the series opener at Busch Stadium on Friday.
Only this time, it was Justin Turner complaining about the umpiring instead of A.J. Ellis.
Turner, who struck out with two men on base to end of the game, thought Trevor Rosenthal’s final two pitches to him were outside. Turner shouted his displeasure at plate umpire Marty Foster, resulting in his postgame ejection.
“When you take a good pitching staff and they don’t have to throw strikes, it makes them a lot better,” Turner said.
Turner’s feelings were shared by others, including one Dodgers player who said he believes the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants often receive favorable calls in their home stadiums.
The Dodgers failed to score a run in their previous series on the road, which, coincidentally or not, was against the Giants.
They were limited to two hits Sunday, one of which was a home run by Joc Pederson in the eighth inning. In the seven innings pitched by starter Carlos Martinez, the Dodgers had only one hit and three walks.
Turner stepped to the plate in the ninth inning thinking the Dodgers had Rosenthal in trouble. With the Dodgers trailing by two runs, the closer retired Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick to start the inning but walked Andre Ethier and Yasmani Grandal.
“The guy has no idea where it’s going,” Turner said. “It’s not like he’s out there spotting up and locating. He walks two guys to bring the tying run to the plate and all a sudden we’re going to give him pitches off the plate and reward the guy who doesn’t know where it’s going. That doesn’t seem right.”
Taking a called strike on a 1-and-1 fastball he believed was outside, Turner turned to Foster.
“I asked him if that was as far as it goes,” Turner said. “He said, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ ”
The next pitch, which ended the game, was even more outside.
“It’s the second time here against the same guy in a big spot,” Turner said.
The reference was to a National League division series against the Cardinals last year, when then-Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp complained that the strike zone in Game 3 was “by far the worst I’ve ever seen.” The Dodgers lost that game and the best-of-five series.
Manager Don Mattingly described the last two pitches to Turner as “clearly off the plate.”
Of the umpires, Mattingly said, “The crowd gets going a little bit, they get excited.”
Whatever the role of the umpires, it’s clear the offense has slowed down in recently. The Dodgers scored two runs or less in 10 of their last 14 games. They were 6-8 in those games.
Even though Mattingly was only a day removed from reconfiguring his lineup by moving Jimmy Rollins from the second spot in the lineup to the eighth, he wouldn’t acknowledge that something was wrong with the offense.
“You can’t put what happens 10 days ago into a pile with what’s going on now,” Mattingly said. “There’s games in there we’ve scored, there’s games in there we haven’t.”
Mattingly said he was certain his team would start scoring again.
“Obviously, we want to score five, six, seven, eight runs a game, but it’s not going to happen through the course of a season,” he said. “I’m happy with our club, I’m happy with our offense and what it’s going to be.”