Dodgers' bats unable to capitalize in the clutch
ARLINGTON -- Yasiel Puig snapped a bat over his knee in frustration Monday night, and if his teammates were strong enough, they probably would have joined him.
The only Dodgers run came on Yasmani Grandal's home run, but even adding a designated hitter to the lineup couldn't keep the offense from sputtering or the Twitterverse from speculating that a Hector Olivera call-up was imminent after a 4-1 loss to the Rangers.
Four Dodgers innings were stunted by double-plays and a fifth was torpedoed when Alberto Callaspo failed to tag from second base on Puig's fly ball to deep right field that fooled outfielder Shin-Soo Choo into an awkward catch. But when Callaspo didn't advance to third, Joc Pederson couldn't leave first and Adrian Gonzalez followed by bouncing a double-play grounder into the shifted defense.
It was the kind of futility the Dodgers offense has repeated too often lately. And to really rub it in, the save went to Clayton Kershaw's best buddy Shawn Tolleson, who the Dodgers simply gave away after the 2013 season on a waiver claim and now he's the Rangers' closer.
Meanwhile, Carlos Frias had another one of those games where he pitched just well enough to not win (one victory in his last seven starts). He was hooked up in a scoreless duel with Yovani Gallardo for five innings. Gallardo walked the first two Dodgers in the sixth and Callaspo's mistake sabotaged the inning.
Frias then walked the first two Rangers on nine total pitches and the game imploded on him. Prince Fielder ripped a first-pitch fastball for an RBI single, Mitch Moreland jumped on a first-pitch changeup for an RBI single and after a sacrifice bunt, Rougned Odor greeted reliever Adam Liberatore with a two-run single and this Interleague game was as good as over.
Frias had only a vague explanation for his sudden sixth-inning command problems, saying he got stiff during the lengthy top of the inning, but acknowledged that the pitches to Fielder and Moreland were mistakes.
As for Olivera, there was no club announcement after he was removed from Oklahoma City's game after five innings going 6-for-8 in the last two games. It seems only a matter of days for the 30-year-old Cuban to reach the Major Leagues, but manager Don Mattingly said he likes his current lineup, even though Carl Crawford (out several more weeks) and Scott Van Slyke (several more days) are still on the disabled list.
Mattingly also wasn't using the club's delayed arrival into Dallas as an excuse. The Sunday night team charter was diverted from San Diego to Los Angeles with equipment problems and the new plane didn't land in Texas until nearly 4 a.m. CT.
"I'm not saying anything about getting in late," he said. "It's just win or lose and we didn't do enough to win."
Grandal said the Dodgers' slump was as much hitting balls "straight at somebody" as anything. He said Frias incorporated a changeup more than usual with solid results.
"On Fielder, we felt we could get a ground ball if we got the pitch where we wanted it, but he wasn't able to do that," he said.