LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts could have blamed his offense for barely showing up again, he could have blamed reliever Tony Cingrani for committing a questionable balk that led to a blown save, or first-base umpire Joe West for calling it.Instead, the Dodgers' manager pointed the finger at himself for
LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts could have blamed his offense for barely showing up again, he could have blamed reliever Tony Cingrani for committing a questionable balk that led to a blown save, or first-base umpire Joe West for calling it.
Instead, the Dodgers' manager pointed the finger at himself for the key decision that contributed to Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Marlins.
With the game tied in the top of the ninth, Roberts brought in reliever Pedro Baez, instead of rested closer Kenley Jansen, to face Miami's 5-6-7 hitters. After a single by Brian Anderson and a double by Cameron Maybin, the Marlins had the lead.
"I wanted to get Petey through that part [of the order] and get Kenley for a different part of the order," said Roberts. "And that didn't work out, and that's on me."
Although Roberts started the game with a nine-man bullpen, he said Thomas Stripling, JT Chargois and Josh Fields were unavailable after pitching Monday night. Daniel Hudson, promoted from the Minors earlier in the day, debuted with a perfect seventh inning in relief of Kenta Maeda, who allowed one run in six innings.
Cingrani let a 2-1 lead get away in the eighth. Baez had already warmed up earlier, and if he hadn't come in for the ninth, he wouldn't be available later. Adam Liberatore was available for part of an inning, so it was either Baez, Jansen or Scott Alexander.
"That point right there, I felt good about Petey," Roberts said. "That's a decision that didn't work out, and I take full responsibility for it. Going against, essentially, the book, and it's a decision I made."
Roberts said Jansen's first-month struggles, which lately seem behind him, had nothing to do with this decision. And Jansen defended his manager and teammate Baez, even though he was warming up alongside Baez in case the Dodgers had taken a lead in the eighth.
"Doc is the best. I stick with him, I stand with his call," said Jansen. "We win together, we lose together. Pedro was throwing really good. Doc did it last year, too, when I wasn't at my best. It happens. Sometimes you gamble, and it doesn't go your way. We get back at it tomorrow. It's a long season."
It's already off to a frustrating start, as the Dodgers (11-11) slipped back to .500 with a loss against a rebuilding team that had dropped 15 of its previous 18.
"I do feel they are games we should win," Roberts said. "Each night you get a starting pitcher that's on a roll, he can keep a team in the ballgame, and that's what they've done. Keep close long enough and anything can happen, and that's what happened tonight."
The Dodgers opened the second inning with doubles from Matt Kemp and Austin Barnes for a 1-0 lead, but Barnes was thrown out at third trying to advance on a ground ball in front of him. In the seventh inning, the Dodgers settled for a run on Chase Utley's bases-loaded walk but stranded three runners.
Then there was the Cingrani balk in the eighth after Dietrich's one-out single. One out later, Starlin Castro doubled in Derek Dietrich -- who might have scored from first with two outs anyway -- but Cingrani was demonstrably furious at West's call coming off the mound when the inning ended.
Cingrani had cooled off after the game, but still disagreed and said all plays should be reviewable. Balks are not reviewable under the current rules.
"It is what it is," Cingrani said. "It happened. I can't really do anything after the fact. It's not really a balk, but he called it a balk, so it's a balk. I don't know. Just got to live with it. Just can't give up a hit to Castro, essentially."
West showed a pool reporter a replay of Cingrani's move and explained that the pitcher moved his front leg toward home plate while throwing to first base.
"He didn't step to first base," said West, MLB's senior umpire. "We looked at it three different times. He starts to home, and he stretches out to try to disguise it. It's a plain and simple bad step.
"See how far he steps down the line? That's what it was. He didn't blink and the first baseman said, 'I know.' Nobody's looking to call a balk there … if it doesn't jump out at you. That's why I called it. You saw how fast I called it. You hate that you have to do it, but you can't let them cheat."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Is that all? With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead on a single and three walks, the last by pinch-hitter Utley on a 3-2 pitch from Tayron Guerrero. But Cody Bellinger, with a chance to break the game open, popped out in foul territory.
Dietrich Dive: Roberts said a potential turning point in the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Maeda led off with a single, and one out later Corey Seager sliced a sinking liner to left field, but Dietrich made a diving catch to prevent an extra-base hit.
HE SAID IT
"We're not looking for it." -- West, on balk calls
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
After a one-out double in the fifth inning by Lewis Brinson, Dillon Peters' comebacker was knocked down by Maeda, who threw to first, where Peters was initially called safe. The call was overturned on review for the second out.
The only thing Clayton Kershaw has lacked this season is run support. He gets the start for Wednesday's unusual 4:35 p.m. PT series finale against Trevor Richards and the Marlins and expect Yasmani Grandal back behind the plate. Manager Dave Roberts said he also will try to give Joc Pederson more outfield starts.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.