Meanwhile, on the field, a familiar loss for the Dodgers
Bankruptcy, hedge funds, arrests, alimony, debtor-in-possession, TV-rights deal, trades, coach firings, attendance declines.
Oh, for the simple days when it was just about baseball games for the Dodgers.
Amid all the distractions that continue to swirl around the last-place Dodgers, they did manage to play a game Friday, though it hardly proved to be a tonic.
They lost, 7-2, to the Nationals, Hiroki Kuroda surrendering a two-run homer to starting pitcher John Lannan in the second inning that ended up providing the winning run in the Dodgers' fifth loss in six games.
It was the first home run of Lannan’s six-year career (236 at-bats). He came into the game batting .057 this season with two hits in 35 at-bats. He later added a single to double his season hit total.
Kuroda is the one Dodger thought to be available prior to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline who might bring something interesting in return. In theory, Friday could have been his final start as a Dodger, although he could start again July 27.
The Tigers, Indians, Rangers and Yankees have all been reported to be interested in the veteran right-hander.
Kuroda has a complete no-trade clause, but early on Friday, it looked as though he was trying convince scouts in attendance that he was unattractive trade material.
He opened the game by giving up a pair of drives that Tony Gwynn Jr. caught at the wall, before giving up a hard-hit single to Ryan Zimmerman, who promptly stole second. Zimmerman scored on a Michael Morse basehit.
And then with two outs in the second, he gave up a single to Ian Desmond and the home run to Lannan. It wasn’t a cheapie, either, landing several rows up the right-field pavilion.
Kuroda (6-12) settled down after his rough start, allowing only three hits the rest of his night. He went 6 1/3 innings, giving up the three runs on seven hits and three walks. He has now pitched at least five innings in each of his 20 starts this season.
The Dodgers at least made a run at the Nationals on Friday, if with the assistance of Desmond at shortstop.
The Dodgers scored their runs in the fourth after Matt Kemp walked and Juan Rivera doubled him to third. Desmond then charged and missed a well hit bouncer by Juan Uribe for an error that allowed both runners to score. One out later, Desmond also dropped a Jamey Carroll grounder for an error, but after a Kuroda sacrifice, Gwynn bounced out.
Lannan (7-6) went 6 1/3 innings, holding the Dodgers to three hits. He walked four and struck out six. And had two hits.
After the fourth, the Dodgers went meekly, managing only one more hit.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp can’t catch a double hit by Washington’s Rick Ankiel during the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss Friday. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images