It was an eventful four days in St. Louis as the Dodgers dropped the final three of a four-game series to the Cardinals. However, the Dodgers pulled off a blockbuster trade late Tuesday night to acquire Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. Ramirez joined the team and made his Dodgers debut Wednesday. The addition of Ramirez was not enough as the Dodgers fell in 12 innings, courtesy of a walk-off single by former Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal. The Cardinals won another wild one on Thursday, 7-4, sending the Dodgers to San Francisco with a three-game losing streak. Here’s what went wrong in the series.
It was a rough offensive series all-around for the Dodgers. That being said, the infield might have been the most productive group, despite their lack of execution. Don Mattingly did a lot of platooning in this series to make sure his players stayed fresh and hydrated in the humid triple-digit temperatures in St. Louis.
It began with the catcher platoon of A.J. Ellis and Matt Treanor. Ellis was 2-for-9 (.222) with a run scored and a double in two starts. Treanor was 1-for-7 (.142) in two starts. Mark Ellis was only 2-for-17 (.118) in the series, however, he did have an RBI double in Monday’s win. Luis Cruz continued his steady play at shortstop, collecting a hit in every single game of the series, including a 3-run homer off of the Cardinals’ Joe Kelly on Monday.
The Dodgers infield got a humongous boost Wednesday with the arrival of Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez played third for the Dodgers on Wednesday and Thursday, and had an impressive debut series with the Dodgers going 3-for-6 (.500) with a triple, a pair of walks, and two runs scored in his first two games. The addition of Ramirez gives the Dodgers lineup some much needed power, and Ramirez appears to be happy wearing Dodger blue. Look for Ramirez to continue to be effective in the middle of the lineup.
Matt Kemp struggled mightily in the Cardinals series going only 2-for-16 (.125) without an extra-base hit or run scored. If Kemp struggles, chances are the Dodgers will struggle. Andre Ethier didn’t exactly tear it up, but he at least made his presence felt in the series going 4-for-16 (.250) with a pair of doubles, and three runs scored in the series. Juan Rivera went 1-for-4 (.250) with an RBI double in his lone start in left field. Bobby Abreu was 1-for-5 (.200) with a pair of walks in two starts. Tony Gwynn, Jr. was non-existent going 0-for-6 in the series. It’s clear to see why the Dodgers struggled to score runs in this series.
Chad Billingsley and Aaron Harang were masterful in the series. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano were disastrous. Billingsley made his triumphant return from the DL, pitching six solid innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking only one. Billingsley collected his first win since June 10.
Aaron Harang was even more brilliant holding the Cardinals to only two runs in 7 1/3 innings of work Wednesday night, striking out eight batters. However, that game would go extras as the Dodgers lost in the 12th inning. Harang has been the Dodgers best pitcher in July going 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.
Clayton Kershaw looked like he was on his way to victory as well, that is before he completely unraveled in the 6th inning Tuesday, in what was arguably his worst start of the season. The Dodgers staked Kershaw to an early 2-0 lead, but he surrendered an RBI double off the wall to opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright, allowing the Cardinals to tie. Again in the 6th, Kershaw walked Wainwright with the bases loaded to give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead. A couple of hits by the Cardinals later, and it was an 8-2 game. Kershaw was shouting at himself on the mound and saw his ERA balloon from 2.74 to 3.14.
Chris Capuano was just as ineffective, giving up six runs and 11 hits to the Cardinals in just 4 1/3 innings of work. The Cardinals racked up a season-high 18-hits off of Dodgers pitching on Thursday.
The Dodgers bullpen was fairly effective against the Cardinals. Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless 9th for his 19th save of the year Monday night. After Kershaw’s meltdown Tuesday, the Dodgers got 2 1/3 scoreless innings from the trio of Josh Lindblom, Shawn Tolleson, and Javy Guerra. The Dodgers also got four scoreless innings on Wednesday from Ronald Belisario, Josh Lindblom, Jamey Wright, and new addition Randy Choate. However, Wright would give up the RBI single to Furcal in the 12th and take the loss. Guerra struggled in Thursday’s loss allowing one of Capuano’s runners to score in the 5th, and surrendering a solo shot to Matt Holliday, as well. Lindblom and Choate each pitched scoreless innings.
The Dodgers head to San Francisco next for a three-game set with the Giants. Only three games separate the two teams in the standings. The Giants are playing some good baseball right now, having won seven of their last 10 games, including two out of three at home against the San Diego Padres.
Weekly GPA: 2.50
Cumulative GPA: 2.69