Bullpen and Clutch Hitting Fails the Dodgers

The fragile Dodger bullpen imploded in the last of the eighth inning and allowed three runs to erase a 3-1 L.A. lead but the club's offense stumbled all afternoon, leaving 11 runners on base, nine of them in scoring position and they left San Diego knowing that they could have been 4-0 instead of 2-2.

In a word, the Dodgers' offense was, well, offensive. The had 42 hits and 23 walks in the four games and scored only 14 times.

In splitting a series that could have been swept, they stranded 35 runners over the four games, 20 of them in scoring position and seven of them at third base. Trailing by a run in the ninth inning, Orlando Hudson tripled but Manny Ramirez couldn't get him across the plate and Russell Martin hit into a game and series-ending double play.

Martin's nightmare continues although he singled and scored in the sixth when the Dodgers scored twice to break a 1-1 tie. The Dodgers catcher left a staggering nine runners on base and four of them in scoring position. He came into the game with an .091 average and left with a .125 (2-for-16).

Clayton Kershaw started and struggled through five innings, allowing one run and a pair of hits while throwing 105 pitches. Ronald Belisario shut the Padres down in the sixth and seventh.

Lefty Will Ohman got one out, then served up a home run to left-handed hitter Adrian Gonzalez. The Dodgers didn't want to pitch Cory Wade after pitching in two of the first three games but he was called in anyway and he could only manage a single out before allowing a single, double and triple as San Diego hit for the cycle in the inning and scored three times. Guillermo Mota finally got the elusive third out but it was too late by then.

In the meantime, Los Angeles left three on in the seventh and two each in the eighth and ninth innings.

Nine times they had a runner in scoring position and Matt Kemp scorched a two-run single for the only hit over that span.

Kershaw was nearly unhittable but he walked one in the first two in the second and a fourth in the fifth inning. He was scheduled to throw 90 pitches but manager Joe Torre let him work the fifth so he would be eligible for the win but San Diego tied the game on a walk and a two-out single.

Three walks followed Kershaw's single in the third. Blake DeWitt (who started his first professional game at shortstop since high school to give Rafael Furcal a rest), Ramirez and Andre Ethier (forcing in the run) drew the free passes. Martin bounced into a force to end the inning.

Padres starter Kevin Correia then retired eight Dodgers in succession before Ethier smacked his second single and Martin broke a 1-for-13 skid with another one base hit. Loney blistered a shot between first and second but David Eckstein made a sparkling stop and threw him out.

Matt Kemp, who was 0-for-2 and had hit into a double play with two on in the second, smoked a one-hopper that nearly tore the jersey off Edgar Gonzalez at third, the ball skipping into left field for a two-run single and a 3-1 lead.

With two out in the seventh, Hudson singled and stole second. Ramirez was intentionally walked and Ethier was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Martin bounced out to second to kill the threat.

Kemp singled for a second time in the eighth and Rafael Furcal pinch-hit and was walked. DeWitt ended this one with a grounder to second.

So the inevitable question arises -- is this really strong offensive team if Ramirez doesn't hit. And are there too many pitchers in the bullpen who cannot work two games in succession?

The top six hitters in the lineup -- DeWitt, Hudson, Ramirez, Ethier, Martin and Loney were 5-for-22 despite Hudson and Ethier collecting a pair of hits each. Ethier reached base all five trips to the place and scored once.

And no one expected them to continue their 11-straight shutout innings streak and overall they have exceeded expectations. But if the Padres are, indeed, the worst scoring team in baseball, there will be real trouble ahead.

The Dodgers travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks for three with James McDonald getting his first big league start in the opening game.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	001 002 000-3
San Diego	000 010 03x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
DeWitt ss	4  0  0  0  .000
 Ohman p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
Hudson 2b	5  0  2  0  .294
Ramirez lf	3  0  0  0  .214
Ethier rf	2  1  2  1  .333
Martin c	5  1  1  0  .125
Loney 1b	3  0  0  0  .400
Kemp cf	        4  0  2  2  .400.
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .077
Kershaw p	2  1  1  0  .500
 Belisario	1  0  0  0  .000
 Furcal ph	0  0  0  0  .286
 Totals	        33 3 8 3
 Padres	        30 4 7 4

 Error- Furcal (1). Three-base hit- Hudson 
(1).  RBI- Ethier (2), Kemp 2 (3). SB- Hudson 
(3). LOB- Los Angeles 11, San Diego 9.

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kershaw	        5.0  2  1-1  4  6  1.80
Belisario	2.0  1  0-0  1  4  0.00
Ohman	        0.1  1  0-0  0  0  6.75
Wade	        0.1  3  2-2  0  0  6.75
Mota	        0.1  0  0-0  1  0  0.00
 HBP- Ethier. T- 3:14. Att- 29,710.
This Date in History
April 10, 1912 -- The Giants Rube Marquard beat the Dodgers 18-3 to start a record, 19-game personal winning streak.

April 10, 1947 -- Jackie Robinson debuts at Ebbets Field. Playing first base in an exhibition game against the Yankees, Brooklyn won 14-6.

April 10, 1962 -- Mrs. Walter (Kay) O'Malley threw out the first ball in the opening game of Dodger Stadium. A crowd of 52,564 saw Wally Post hit a three runs home run to break a 3-3 tie and hang the loss on starter Johnny Podres. The same day, Los Angeles sold their first World Series hero, Larry Sherry, to Detroit.


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