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It's becoming a season theme: Dodgers lose 4-3 when Braves score three times in ninth


It’s true, the Dodgers can invent new ways to lose. Painful, rip-out-the-heart ways. Ways to make the life of their 2010 season grow all the more dimmer.

It happened again, somehow, incredibly, on Monday night in Atlanta when the Dodgers were seemingly on their way to victory, only for everything to come crashing down, their old nightmare replaced by their new nightmare.

The Dodgers took a two-run lead into the ninth, and then the Braves scored three times and escaped with a 4-3 victory.

Hong-Chih Kuo was unable to pull off a two-inning save, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning after pitching a 1-2-3 eighth.

Manager Joe Torre then called on Octavio Dotel to finish it off. He did, too, just not the way Torre had hoped.

Dotel walked David Ross to force in one run and then gave up a bouncing two-run single to Melky Cabrera as the Braves celebrated their come-from-behind win and the Dodgers looked on once again in disbelief.

The offensively challenged Dodgers scored their three runs without the benefit of a single hit with runners in scoring position. That left them 0 for 21 in that department in this four-game series.

The Dodgers scored twice in the eighth off Jonny Venters to take the lead, thanks to some defensive struggles by third baseman Brooks Conrad.

Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson opened the inning by drilling a one-hopper that took a wicked bounce off Conrad. Originally ruled an error, it was later changed to a hit.

Scott Podsednik drew a walk before Ryan Theriot hit a little bouncer toward Conrad, who charged and threw on the run. The throw sailed past Troy Glaus at first base for an error as Johnson scored.

Right fielder Jason Heyward had the wet ball ricochet off him in the corner, and Podsednik, who had stopped at third, came home. Heyward was not charged with an error, but could have been.

The Dodgers had opened the scoring with a run off Tommy Hanson in the first on a Theriot infield single and Andre Ethier double.

They handed the 1-0 lead to starter Chad Billingsley, who sported a 1.32 earned-run average in his last five starts, and told him to make it work. In a downpour, he acted like it was no problem. The guy must love rain.

He shut out the Braves for five innings, at which point it looked like the game might be called for rain and the Dodgers would escape with a 1-0 victory.

Instead, they spread some more dry dirt around the infield and sent the teams back out for more.

Which worked out for the Braves. Omar Infante led off the bottom of the sixth with his first triple of the season and Heyward lined a shot to right that almost screamed home run.

Only it lost steam in the rain and then Ethier made an outstanding running, leaping catch at the wall.

Infante tagged to tie the score, but Ethier took away an extra-base hit from Heyward. Ethier and the rain, anyway.

Billingsley went seven strong innings for the Dodgers. He gave up his one run on five hits and a walk, striking out eight.

The way things are going for the Dodgers, mired in fourth place in the NL West right now, seven strong is not going to be enough.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers second baseman Ryan Theriot is tagged out by Braves catcher Brian McCann in the eighth inning when trying to score on a fly ball by James Loney. Credit: Curtis Compton / McClatchy-Tribune.

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The moral on this team has to be at an all time low. Torre has mismanaged this team from day one. If McCort was paying attention he would boot Torre today.

I'm listening to Elton John's (pre-Limbaugh) "Funeral For a Friend" ( a classic underrated EJ seldom heard mentioned song) & watching this tripe-- "candle burnt out long before the legend ever did" Whatever that means--dodgers are done. Now I'm up to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"--when are you going to come down? WE are down & done...


OMG, why in the world would Joe try to get a two inning save out of Kuo? Has he even gone two innings at all this year? With Dotel in the 'pen, with 21 saves, and having pitched lights out on Saturday, why was he not brought in to pitch the ninth? What's the explanation?

See, it's not just Broxton who collapses when it matters.

Seems like the worst team of my lifetime, fifty years in the Blue. But a foray into historical stats shows this team not nearly as bad as some legendary under .500 Dodger flops, nowheres near the worst teams in batting avg. (1967-1968, .236, .230) at .260. OBP and SLG stats are low in the NL, but not particularly so historically. Fielding surprisingly decent. It's not in the numbers. It's the team. It's snakebitten, plain and simple. You can't blame Torre and the screwed up owners forever; sooner or later you have to say the players aren't doing it. It's the way we defeat ourselves. One day the hitters are killing it and then the bullpen dies. The next the starter gives us a beauty, then the bats sink. Everyone is on, then the fielding tanks. Like the whole team's on a wobble, like they just came through the Haunted Shack at Knott's Berry Farm. It's a house divided against itself. Why? Ask the gods. Maybe not the worst team historically, but the hardest to watch in my memory.

How stupid is Joe Torre really? He still sounds like a kid that believes in the tooth fairy! "Manny is still a threat." A threat to do what?! I cannot wait until the Dodgers get rid of him and Manbum. I mean, what is it that he doesnt see in this guy?! He cant play the outfield! He cant hit now that he isnt shooting needles up his butt! So, what actually is he a threat to do? Now, that the Dodgers are basically out of it, we can only hope that some team takes this loser off of our hands immediately. Somewhere, I bet Juan Pierre is sitting back and laughing.

Pathetic! I am finally throwing in the towel! Once again better luck next season. Torre will not come back.

Pitching and hitting are 50% ability and 50% attitude. Why has on one singled out Honeycutt and Mattingly as abject failures when it comes to pitching and hitting coaches?

just PATHETIC! just when you think it couldn't get any did! is there anyone reliable in the bullpen to get a save for any of the dodgers quality starters?

It's not really Torre'ss fault this time. This team just doesn't have the horses to score. The Braves gave them two gift runs that they didn't earn, otherwise it would have been 4-1.

Everything Torre touches seems to become wood these days.

If you're gonna pitch Kuo in the 8th, why not let Dotel just start the 9th? Kuo had a 9 pitch 8th, yes. But two nights ago he labored (yes, 1-2-3, but lots of pitches) and looked like he was in the shower already in the Atlanta humidity. Sending anyone in with the bases loaded and less than two outs was a disaster waiting to happen.

But more importantly, why is Kuo pitching the 8th? I know you have lefty Heyward there. But you're up 2 runs. Dotel and/or Broxton are your set up guys. Kuo is your closer.

Come on Joe. Don't just ride off into the sunset.

A New York Yankees fan and neighbor of mine told me at the start of the season that Torre was the most overrated manager of all time. He said he couldn't manage the pen late in games and the Dodgers would pay the price because they weren't good enough to overcome his mismanagement. I told him he was an idiot.

He reminds me of my idiocy every day.

In the end you cannot overcome Joe Torre when he's working the bull pen beat.

I am so dumbfounded, I can't even blame Joe for this one. That alone is shocking! A completely utterly amazing loss - again. This time without Broxton blowing up in the ninth, but the offense could have, should have had another run from third.

snakebitten? that's horse feathers.

they're gutless and without heart.

there is a difference.

Its been all over this board for those that missed it. This team is a collaboration of misfits - the kind of team Rachel Phelps dreamed to have in Major League. The owners, the GM, the coaching staff and the players have all stunk it up over the course of the season. Each has had their moments. That's how you go from brink of Fall Classic and contender for it to an also-ran in a division not considered baseball's most formidable. They're double-digits behind, and ahead of only 1 team out of 4 that they previously had a 21-5 record against this season. That's how bad it is.

Like any organization, it starts at the top. Accountable there, and responsibility to put the pieces together from there to the floor-sweepers. Frank and Jamie haven't done it, Ned on the next level didn't do it, and Torre and staff aren't getting it done with what they have either. And the players who are on the field - they have to man up and accomplish, and they're just not getting that done.

Its all of them. Every one has a role when we win, and everyone has a role now while we lose.

Truth hurts. Sometimes you're the statue, and sometimes you're the pigeon. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

"Its Deja Vu all over again"

but enough with the well worn clichés ...


I believe Theriot ended up on third on the error with NOBODY OUT, and didn't score! Do I remember correctly?
When I saw Broxton warming up in the 6th behind Billingsley with a one run lead, I really thought Torre had lost his marbles. Unfortunately, Torre didn't lose his marbles until the ninth.
I feel badly for Kuo, who's pitched his butt off for us this year. I feel badly for Billingsley who has begun to show that he really can pitch in the majors, despite my previous misgivings.
The abandonment of the the team by the McCourts and Ramirez has had a palpably insidious effect on the hitters. I hope they can gain perspective and self-confidence over the winter.

This is the second time since the all star game that Torre has pulled KUO too soon, he did it against the giants, when super man gave a two run shot to Burrel and last night. He must not trust him. If he treated superman the same way as he treats KUO, they might have won two out of three from phila. But our hall of fame(what a joke) manager decideed to stay with broxton.There was reason the Dodgers were called them bums when they were back in Brooklyn. They went from 1920 to 1941 without appearing in the Series. Mr. warmth(mccourt) is embellishing that 1988to INFINITY AND BEYOND.........

Nail on the head, allanw19. It goes beyond Torre. Starts with the odd couple at the top. The 9th inning meltdowns and base running blunders and failures to hit with RISP and misplayed fly balls and mysterious "injuries" and general indifference by some of the players have made this season a Cubs-like laugher.

The Dodgers are going through a difficult time right now but they are playing their hearts out. This is all that is expected and required of the current incarnation of the greatest sports franchise upon which the sun has ever risen. Congratulations to all the boys who are carrying on the great Dodger tradition of never giving up and hanging in there day after day. I would not be surprised to see this team in the post season, based on heart alone. Physically they are as talented a group as I have ever seen wear the uniform. They deserve our loyalty, our support, and most importantly, our respect.

The two problems, not being able to hit with runners in scoring position and not being able to stop teams from scoring in the late innings, to me is a mystery.
Is it all mental?
The Dodgers are actually playing well enough to win but they're not.
Personally, I think it's just the way it is now and sooner or later (How later? , who knows), it will turn itself around. It's probably too late for this year though.

Rich, I think the posters here would support your optimism and unwavering support. But the "as talented a group" as you've seen is barely over .500. I wouldn't disrespect the great teams that have worn Dodger Blue in the past with such a lofty comparison.

I understand your point. No disrespect to past Dodger teams. I did condition my comment by indicating that "physically" they were as good. What I meant is they have all the physical gifts necessary to make them as good a Dodger team as any. Of course success in baseball depends on more than physical ability or potential.

Rich, you are correct in your point given the condition. That's why it's so frustrating for the folks who follow the Dodgers closely. How can this team not be on top or at the very least competing at the top of the NL West standings?! Anything less than the NLCS would have been a big failure before the season started but to finish 3rd in the division?? Unbelievable.


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