Dodgers 'kind of flat' in post-clinch loss
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers played Wednesday night like they had a clinch party the night before, which they had. And they played like they were missing the heart of the batting order -- Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick -- which they were.
In getting only two hits while being shut out by Mike Leake and the Giants, 5-0, they missed a chance to catch the Mets for home-field advantage in the National League Division Series, but instead remained one game back with only four games left and the Mets owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.
"I think it's human nature. It's hard to get going the next day," said manager Don Mattingly. "The day after is kind of flat. Today's a tough day. You go through a lot the day after last night, a lot of emotion is built up winning and you spend a lot of energy there. I don't know if you all feel it, but it's one of those days and you try to fight it the best you can."
Mattingly said in games like these you hope the starting pitcher keeps you close, but Mike Bolsinger's September woes continued. Although he struck out seven in 3 1/3 innings, Bolsinger allowed a first-inning homer to Matt Duffy, failed to pitch at least five innings for the fourth consecutive start and afterward said his arm was "heavy."
As the fifth starter, Bolsinger already was a long shot to make the postseason roster for a best-of-five series and did himself no favors. But Wednesday night's outcome was a reminder that, unless Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke is starting, it's a roll of the dice for the Dodgers.
The same can be said when the offense is without three veteran bats like Gonzalez, Turner and Kendrick. Instead, rookie Corey Seager batted third, bouncing into two double plays and seeing his on-base streak snapped at 21 starts. Andre Ethier, Chase Utley, Yasmani Grandal Joc Pederson and Austin Barnes went hitless as well.
With Bolsinger's short start, Mattingly used the game to audition for the final bullpen spot. Jim Johnson, Carlos Frias, Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore took their turns. Of the group, Frias seems to have the best shot as a long reliever and he overcame a pair of walks in two scoreless innings. Johnson made one pitch and got a double play. Peralta served up a home run and Liberatore got his one batter.
Mattingly also made sure to use closer Kenley Jansen, who hadn't pitched in six days. He allowed a run on a pair of hits in two-thirds of an inning.
"I was using him tonight no matter what because he needs the work, but I would have rather used him in the ninth with a lead," said Mattingly. "We've got to get him on the hill or he's not as sharp, and we saw a little bit of that tonight."