Dodgers' bats need boost after suffering another shutout
L.A.'s offense has gone 31 straight innings without scoring
SAN FRANCISCO -- Among the comparisons between Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw, add pitching for an offense that can't score.
The Dodgers suffered another series sweep by the Giants at AT&T Park, this time with all shutouts. They fell in Thursday's game with Kershaw pitching, 4-0, to go with previous nights' losses of 4-0 and 2-0.
Kershaw was charged with four runs in 7 1/3 innings in the third matchup of the year with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, who hit more homers in this game (one) than the entire Dodgers offense has hit since Friday.
That offense has gone 31 innings without scoring. It has one hit in the past 27 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers went 0-for-17 in those situations in this series, stranding 29 runners. Combined with being swept here in April, the six straight losses in San Francisco are the most for the Dodgers since 1972.
The Dodgers couldn't run the bases, either. Alex Guerrero pulled a Yasiel Puig, gunned down trying to take an extra base and cutting off a sixth-inning threat. On Tuesday night, Scott Van Slyke was picked off first base with his team down two runs.
"Just a bad decision," manager Don Mattingly said of Guerrero, one of three rookies in the lineup.
Mattingly said he couldn't complain about his club's offensive approach that ran up Bumgarner's pitch count to 94 through five innings.
"We made the guy fight for outs," Mattingly said. "We continue to have good at-bats. We have professional guys that are not going to panic. We're not going to panic. We'll be fine. We're still in pretty good position."
Meaning, even after losing six of the past eight games, the Dodgers still lead the division, though the margin has been slashed from 5 1/2 games to 1 1/2 games.
"The Giants beat us, plain and simple," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "They played better the three days, and we've got to regroup. That's not the brand of Dodgers baseball we've been playing. The starters and relievers did a good job. The offense has got to do our part"
Kershaw, his fastball several ticks slower than usual, conceded his pitches "just weren't coming out, for some reason." He said he felt fine -- "You're going to have those days," -- and he tipped his cap to Bumgarner, who stunned him by slugging a third-inning home run with two outs.
"Fastball down the middle," he said. "I should have a little more respect for him."
Kershaw conceded he is frustrated that his club has won only two of his nine starts. He already has three losses, as many as he had the entire 2014 National League MVP season. Having lost all three of his meetings with Bumgarner this year, Kershaw felt he had a clear answer why this game and series went the way it did.
"They have good pitching, and it's a tough place to hit," he said of AT&T Park. "Those combined make it tough. We've won here before, won a lot in a row. You never want to say you're worried. We haven't gotten everybody going at the same time, me included."