Everything seemed to lag Sunday, and not just because the nine-inning game lasted 3 hours 36 minutes.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly conceded after his team’s 6-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium that he “didn’t feel there was a lot of energy out there” for the first time this season.
“A disappointing day today for me,” Mattingly said.
It didn’t help that the fourth-place Dodgers entered the game only hours after trading shortstop and clubhouse leader Rafael Furcal, ending any doubt about their hopes to contend over the season’s final two months.
Then rookie right-hander Rubby De La Rosa gave up back-to-back homers to Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra in the second inning during a dreadful four-inning start, the shortest of his career.
“When I finally found my rhythm,” De La Rosa said through an interpreter, “I already had 90 pitches.”
De La Rosa (4-5) would throw only 13 more pitches before departing. He gave up five hits and three runs, striking out six and walking four.
Dodgers relievers Josh Lindblom and Hong-Chih Kuo compounded the mess by givingup three more runs, rendering moot mini-rallies in the eighth and ninth inning. The Dodgers scored a run in the ninth on Tony Gwynn Jr.'s single to left-center field and brought the potential tying run to the plate in Andre Ethier, who already had a season-high four hits.
Alas, Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz got Ethier to fly out to right field.
The Dodgers collected 12 hits off Arizona starter Joe Saunders (8-8) and three relievers, and it still wasn’t enough.
“The energy was a little low today,” said Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who went two for four as part of his fourth consecutive multihit game. “I can’t exactly tell you why, but we can’t have those days. We can’t afford to have a lack of energy any games because we’re behind [in the standings].”
Mattingly said he did not address his team collectively in the wake of the Furcal trade but said he would in the coming days if he sensed it needed direction.
“We do have to know where we’re going and it’s been pretty clear all year long,” Mattingly said. “We’ll see if we need to talk about it anymore.”
Moving on up?
Although Dee Gordon eventually projects as a leadoff hitter, Mattingly said he would “mix and match” the shortstop throughout his batting order the rest of the season to alleviate pressure on the rookie.
Gordon went one for four Sunday while batting eighth in the Dodgers’ order. Mattingly said Gordon would get consideration for the leadoff spot on days that Gwynn was out of the lineup.