Did Scott Van Slyke have a good night tonight? Well, let’s examine. He walked in his first plate appearance, which is good. He flew out to right in the third, but it took a nice play by Allen Craig to get him, so fine. To this point, no problems.
Unfortunately, in the top of the fifth in a tie game with two out and two on, Jhonny Peralta doubled to deep right:
I get it, of course. Van Slyke’s a big guy, but I don’t imagine that even he wants to have a full-speed Yasiel Puig running into him, and you can see the hesitation. Whether it was his inexperience in center or just hearing footsteps, he wasn’t able to get there in time — and to be clear, it would have required a very nice play, but one other center fielders may have made — and it resulted in all the scoring St. Louis would need. (You can see Hyun-jin Ryu‘s reaction in the main image.)
In Van Slyke’s next plate appearance, he struck out. Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased with the call:
That ended his night early, and while it’s completely unfair to only talk about him in a game the Dodgers lost 3-1, he was by far the most interesting aspect of an otherwise frustrating evening, where the Dodgers had seemingly endless chances against Carlos Martinez and four relievers and couldn’t get more than a single run in. Part of that, of course, was due to some stellar Cardinals defense, both by Jon Jay and Craig, but it was also due to Miguel Rojas getting thrown out at home attempting to score on a wild pitch, and A.J. Ellis getting tossed out trying to stretch a single into a double, and Matt Kemp getting caught stealing, and Adrian Gonzalez grounding into a double play with Puig and Dee Gordon on base in the fifth. In the ninth, a Juan Uribe walk brought Ellis up to the plate against Trevor Rosenthal as the tying run, but Ellis grounded into a double play, with Hanley Ramirez waiting on deck to pinch-hit.
Some of that came from being aggressive, which I like. It’s just that enough of those miscues and not enough timely hitting wasted both Gordon’s three-hit night and Ryu’s otherwise solid seven-inning, seven-strikeout performance. With the Giants losing to Johnny Cueto and the Reds, the Dodgers had a chance to get to within one game, though they’ll stay at two. Just like everything else tonight, it’s a missed opportunity, and the seventh different time this year they’ve been unable to turn a three-game winning streak into four.