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Plays that weren't made are the ones that will haunt Dodgers


No one promised a Gold Glove meant a sterling defensive performance every night.

Matt Kemp didn’t exactly mess up, he just didn’t make the plays. Didn’t step up when the Dodgers needed it most Saturday night.

This is not to lay the blame of the stunning 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins at Kemp’s feet.

After a terrific night by the bullpen, reliever George Sherrill came in the ninth and could not get a single batter out. Struggling with his mechanics all spring, he was again a mess.

A hit batter, a walk to a hitter trying to bunt, a two-run double off the wall and a final game-winning sacrifice fly.

Sherrill is a mystery the Dodgers need to figure out in a hurry, particularly with left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo still on the shelf.

But with Jonathan Broxton having pitched the last two games, Manager Joe Torre decided he wasn’t going to push it. It was Sherrill’s game.

And he might have gotten out of it with a win, if Kemp -- who hit a towering home run in the top of the inning -- had been able to make a couple plays.

The first opportunity he had was on pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino’s shot to the wall in center. Kemp broke and appeared to have a play on the ball.

But the ball was hit to a spot in center where the wall makes an odd drop back a couple feet -- it is a football stadium -- and Kemp appeared to misjudge how much room he had. He couldn’t pull it in.

Two runs scored to tie it.

Then Jorge Cantu hit a fly to Kemp in medium-shallow center. Kemp has a powerful arm, but still with no outs, the Marlins decided to gamble and send Chris Coghlan from third.

A good throw and Coghlan is probably out. Kemp fired home, but several feet up the first-base side instead of third. Catcher Russell Martin had no play.

On a night when Andre Ethier had hit a dramatic two-run, go-ahead single in the eighth, the Dodgers were left with a heartbreaking loss. And thinking about plays they didn’t make.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Matt Kemp tries to make a diving catch on double by Florida's Wes Helms during Friday's game. Credit: Doug Benc / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (20)

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A heartbreaker tonight for sure.

Well, perhaps Kemp could have made those plays (the throw home, anyway), and Sherrill struggled, but the Dodgers might not have been in that position if Padilla had pitched better. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings after yielding eight hits (including a homer), and four runs (all earned). He made 96 pitches (way too many). So, in two starts he's lasted 8 2/3 innings, yielded 14 hits (including three homers) and 11 runs (all earned). Sorry, but that's not gonna do it.

Well, Joe & Matt combined to blow this game! A bad read on a catchable fly ball & a little league throw from shallow center!

But Joe, in the first inning, blew it! Raffy is on 2B, no outs & a LH batter in ANderson up - have him bunt joe, get him to 3B & now, he can score on a fly ball, an out, a hit, a pass ball, a wild pitch, an error, BUT at 2b, he can only score on a base hit! BAD non move Joe! & you pitch JB in 2 consecuctive non save situations & now on a night you need a Save, you bring in the guy who struggled all Spring & in his first assignment this season ? Than after MK blows the fly ball, you STILL leave him in ?! I remember the days when a Closer could & would pitch 3,4 nights in a row & none the worse for it - todays players are coddled far too much!
Joe, w/ all due resepct, your managing skills are for the birds!
What a terribly managed game, again by Joe T & I can promise you, it won't be the last.

If Padilla can't pitch more than 5 innings, it will become more and more difficult for the Dodgers to go with 12 pitchers, or their bullpen is going to have to absorb more than 1 inning per pitcher.

But HEY!
how 'bout those Dodgers?

I agree Bob & it all goes back to the weak GM, Dread Colletti! He loses his most consistent starter in RW, then doesn't even make him a cosmetic offer, to garner a few draft picks & he has the nerve to say this team is better than last year ?! He has made one good deal in 3 years & even I could have made it - Head Case Bradley for Ethier & that's been it!
He spent 175 Mil on 4 players of which only one is here & ManSham held the Option for this season, instead of the Dodgers, thanks to Dread once again getting backed into his personal corner!
To have to start Padilla on Opending Day speaks volumes! There was a reason he was out there for a song & a dance & his 4 wins last year were due to the fact he came from the AL & most players had not seen him in a long while, or ever!
And he can't even read a signal from Bowa ?

I know we're only 5 games into the season, but I have a bad feeling this is what we've got to get used to this year. Just imagine if a true number one starter like Roy Halliday, Cliff Lee or CC Sabathia was on the mound for LA tonight? Even Randy Wolf would have been a better option. But Frank McCourt's actions speak louder than his words.
How can you justify not doing anything in the offseason to improve a team that came close two years in a row in the second largest market in the US and after you lead the league in attendance? It's obvious that the inability to acquire an ace or even a #2 or #3 caliber starter is really going to hurt this club.
As a fan I'm clearly disappointed by the ownership of the Dodgers. To me it's s slap in the face to us fans becuase it says to me that the product on the field doesn't matter because us stupid loyal Dodger fans will still pack the stadium every night regeadless of how god this team is. With this messy divorce happening it's obvious that mediocrity is okay to the McCourt's as long as their lavish lifestyle isn't interrupted. I'm bummed out about it and I actually have started to resent this team because I loathe the McCourt's so much and their divorce is making this team suffer. It's not fair. When does the NFL start?

Is this serious?

I mean, really?

Plenty of blame to go around, but I'm glad you pointed out the share that Kemp deserves. Sherrill deserves the bulk of it, but to not say ANYTHING about Matt Kemp's defensive performance in the bottom of the 9th, just because he's our golden boy, is just wrong. Kudos for pointing it out.

(The umpires and Padilla also deserve some, as well)

Uh, the reality is that Joe Torre allowed his pitcher who was in a groove to stand on that humid mound while a work crew did stadium repairs on a foam wall that had nothing to do with anything. Torre should have either removed his pitcher from the mound or demanded that the work be done between innings. You figured Torre would have learned after he did nothing when Joba Chamberlin was consumed by gnats in Game 2 of the 2007 Yanks-Cleveland playoff game. Torre later admitted he froze in that game as well. Matt Kemp is not a gold glove center fielder. Tori Hunter is.

See! I told 'ya, Uncle Neddy, not to send me down to Albuquerque.

Does anyone remmeber that Broxton was not available last night at least in part because he pitched in a non-save situation Thursday in Pittsburgh?

I lay this defeat directly at the feet of Joe Torre. Why was Broxton being held out. The man is a bull, an ox. He has pitched two innings all season. If he's that fragile, why did Torre bring him in with an eight run lead Thursday afternoon, when I could have gotten us out of Pittsburgh with a win. It's just absolutley poor managing and Torre continuously makes poor decisions that cost us games.

There was a quote from Torre duirng the Marlins telecast. He was saying how important it is for the starting pitcher to go eight innings, "because I have to manage only the seventh and eighth." I took that to mean when you have a closer of Broxton's caliber, he's automatically got the ninth. Then, Torre does just as he said...he managed the seventh and eight. Apparently, after that, he took a nap.

It's certainly frustrating to lose a game perhaps because Broxton, their closer, was "unavailable" after being used in 2 non-save situations the previous 2 days.

That said, Sherrill's got to do better than coming in that situation and hitting the tying run and walking the winning run when the guy was trying to bunt.

Didn't Torre use Broxton the first night in no close situation. If he hadn't have used him then, he would have been available last night.

To blame Kemp is absurd--plenty of blame can go to the inept pitching of Sherrill & Padilla. But what about the idiotic call by Torre for Padilla to suicide squeeze with the bases loaded one out in the 2nd inning? Padilla, a lifetime .105 hitter, doesn't make much contact & has been in the american League for the past few years & hasn't been called on to bunt. Padilla missed the sign, as who is their right mind is squeezing as he wasn't looking for it. Casey Blake is tagged out & then Padilla makes out, inning over. Furcal, who was 4 for 5 in the series never gets to bat with the bases loaded. Lost opportunity. Torre should have told Padilla to just stand there, don't swing, if Johnson walks him (he just walked the previous 2 batters) good or strikes him out, ok then Furcal will hit & Dodgers stay out of the double play as well. Plays that weren't made did haunt the Dodgers, like this Torre 2nd inning debacle.

ladies and gentlemen, these ARE your 2010, Los Angeles Dodgers!

The way Sherill was pitching, Kemp would have had to have caught everything everywhere because they were just launching them.

I think when you look back on a 2-3 record and realize that Brox has pitched in 0 meaningful situations, you have to realize you screwed up.

Dodgers Succeed By Not Taking a Halladay:

Toronto and Philly lead their divisions with an identical 4-1 record.

kemp winning the "gold glove" last year is a joke....
the guy is still a corner outfielder (at best?) struggling to get by in CF


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