The Dodgers had more than their share of opportunities to survive another bad Dan Haren start tonight. They, frustratingly, could not do it. As a result, they fell to the Cardinals by a score of 3-2.
First, the Haren start. He continued to look like the broken version of Dan Haren which we have become accustomed to. He gave up another home run, an absolute bomb by Matt Holliday with Kolten Wong on first base in the fifth inning. It was his 20th home run allowed of the season, six more than any Dodger batter has hit this year. He also allowed a few more extra-base hits and some very long fly outs. He only induced five swinging strikes in 99 pitches.
Even worse, Haren isn’t going deep into games anymore. He lasted just 4-2/3 inning. He just didn’t have much command of his pitches. He was missing location a lot, mostly over the plate. He actually struck out four batters, since three of the swinging strikes he induced were on strike three, but overall it was yet another forgettable night.
Haren gave up three runs, and it was almost worse. After the home run by Holliday, two more batters reached base before Haren was pulled. The runs didn’t score, but the Dodgers cost themselves an out. In the previous inning, the Dodgers intentionally walked Tony Cruz in order to load the bases with two outs. Lance Lynn made the final out of the inning because he can’t hit, but Cruz was extremely unlikely to do any damage beyond just reaching base. His career batting line is .237/.281/.327. He was 23.7% likely to do extra damage, then Lynn would have been 88% likely to start the next inning with an out. The decision mostly worked out beyond the extra batters faced in the next inning, but I’m bringing it up because something like this usually gets ignored.
For the Cardinals, Lance Lynn looked significantly better than when he faced the Dodgers earlier this month. He lasted six (plus) innings. He struck out nine batter as the Dodger batters swung through his fastball constantly. He also walked four batters, and that combined with the Dodgers’ four hits against him led to many frustrating moments.
The Dodgers started were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the first six innings. Lance Lynn started the seventh inning allowing back-to-back doubles by Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis, which resulted in his removal. The Dodgers didn’t get a hit against Seth Maness with Ellis in scoring position, but a groundout and a wild pitch were enough to get him home and cut the deficit to one run.
However, in spite of some golden opportunities against Pat Neshek in the eighth, the Dodgers could not score again. In failing to come through in the clutch, they wasted good pitching performances by Chris Perez (?!), Paco Rodriguez (who allowed three fly balls to the outfield, probably not a recipe for sustainable success this year), and Brandon League, who combined to hold the Cardinals scoreless in 3-1/3 innings of work. The Dodgers finished the game 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and the frustrating wasted chances resulted in the poor start to the second “half.”