This game was so dumb. This was so, so stupid. Just everything about this game was the worst thing that ever happened, and know that I’m saying this despite the much-maligned Dodger offense scoring seven runs. So much happened. So little happened. Forget this ever happened.
If Josh Beckett was hoping to prove he’s healthy and effective and that the Dodgers don’t need to add another starter, he failed terribly. If Jamey Wright was hoping to show that if and when another reliever arrives, it should be Chris Perez rather than him who should be shown the door, he didn’t do so well. And if baseball wants me to continue to care about this stupid sport, then providing another macho-fest full of beanball stupidity is a pretty awful way to do it.
To Beckett, first: Yikes. He allowed homers to Ike Davis and Neil Walker in the second, and another to Gregory Polanco in the third, which is what we call “the full Haren.” After the third homer, he allowed a Travis Snider single, then struck out Andrew McCutchen — because sure, the one guy he’s going to whiff is the reigning NL MVP — before allowing Walker to double in Snyder, then hitting Russell Martin with a pitch. He got out of it without any further damage, but hang on to that last part. This is about to get real dumb.
The Dodgers had managed to put two on the board in the top of the third, thanks partially due to a Pedro Alvarez throwing error, so it was 4-2 (with Paul Maholm having relieved Beckett in the fourth) heading into the top of the sixth. That turned into a 4-4 tie when A.J. Ellis drove in Carl Crawford (who had singled) and Juan Uribe (who had reached via Josh Harrison error, playing third after Alvarez left with a sore knee) which set the stage for… the ugliness.
This part was pretty stupid
No, not that ugliness, though we’ll get to it in the minute. After retiring his first five, Maholm allowed singles to Martin and Davis, and was replaced by Wright, who had Harrison sacrifice and Jordy Mercer strike out. That’s all well and good. This is not: the following sequence went walk, single (two scored), single (one scored), hit by pitch, wild pitch (one scored), ground out. Suddenly, it was 8-4, and while Maholm and Wright each ended up with two earned runs apiece, I’m thinking they aren’t sharing the blame equally. Maholm kind of didn’t get the job done; Wright really didn’t get the job done.
So was this
Now, the never-ending stupid: Apparently, the Pirates considered the McCutchen hit-by-pitch to be a grave offense against their proud tradition. (Even though, you know, Wright had already let three runs in and had two men on base.) Justin Wilson entered to throw at Justin Turner… and missed. No matter: he did it again, and it’s incredibly hard to think that was anything but intentional. Wilson was tossed, along with manager Clint Hurdle, and thanks to the free baserunner handed to the Dodgers along with the subsequent homer by the suddenly red-hot Gonzalez, the lead was cut in half. Thanks, Pirates!
Wright, for some reason, stayed in the game… and proceeded to lead off the bottom of the seventh by hitting Martin again, the third hit Pirate of the game. Pittsburgh fans were furious that Wright wasn’t ejected, and it’s easy to understand why; it’s also easy to understand that if you’re going to throw at someone, you don’t ever do it with a curveball, as Wright did. He wasn’t malicious. He was just awful. He rebounded to get the next three Pirates. Good for him. This isn’t going to get better.
And oh good lord, this too
Scott Van Slyke pinch-hit for Wright, and took Tony Watson deep to make it 8-7. You’re the best, Scott. Chris Perez entered in the bottom of the eighth, because tonight apparently was all about the island of misfit relievers, and, well, if you didn’t see it yourself, you wouldn’t believe me. Perez got Michael Martinez to pop out, but then walked Polanco.
It was the first time in over 25 years that a Dodger pitcher walked four consecutive batters, and for as annoyed as I am with Perez that he could be so awful as to do such a thing, I’m also annoyed that Don Mattingly allowed him to. I’m assuming there’s a reason; perhaps no one was warm in time to get him out of the game. I couldn’t tell from the broadcast. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been calling for Perez to be let go for several weeks now, and there’s no more reason to delay. It can’t be for Paco Rodriguez, who must wait 10 days to be recalled unless someone is injured, but it could be for Pedro Baez or Jose Dominguez. I don’t even care who. It’s just time to make the move.
Then Brandon League came in to allow singles to Martin and Davis, adding three more onto the total — all of which land on Perez, and not that I care about his line, but it’s fun that League just made it worse but saw his ERA drop to 2.01 — and the Dodgers went quietly in the ninth. Around the same time Perez was imploding, future Dodger Jonathan Papelbon was allowing a game-tying homer to Buster Posey in Philadelphia. Because, you know, this game by itself wasn’t bad enough.