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Dodgers squandered plenty of opportunities against the Braves

Oct 4, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Getty Images

Despite making it close, the Dodgers had plenty of opportunities to score but came up empty plenty of times following Hanley Ramirez‘s RBI double in the first inning. They couldn’t get the big hit against Braves starter Mike Minor from the second through the sixth innings, nor relievers Luis Ayala or Luis Avilan in the seventh.

Second inning: Juan Uribe lead-off single followed up by Skip Schumaker grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.

Third inning: Carl Crawford lead-off single followed up by Mark Ellis grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

Fourth inning: Adrian Gonzalez lead-off single, followed by three consecutive unproductive outs.

Fifth inning: Nothing

Sixth inning: Hanley Ramirez one-out double, advances to third on Yasiel Puig‘s infield single, but does not score.

Seventh inning: Skip Schumaker leads off with an infield single, then advances to second on a sacrifice bunt. Michael Young reaches on another infield single. Carl Crawford ends the threat by grounding into a 1-6-3 double play against reliever Luis Avilan.

Ninth inning: A.J. Ellis draws a one-out walk. Dee Gordon pinch-runs for him and immediately attempts to steal second base, but is thrown out by catcher Gerald Laird. To Gordon’s credit, replays showed that second base umpire Bill Miller got the call wrong.

Manager Don Mattingly made things worse in the bottom of the seventh being too mindful of the platoon advantage. With two Braves runners on first and second with two outs, Jose Constanza came to the plate to pinch-hit for Avilan. Constanza finished the regular season with a .516 OPS, not exactly the type of hitter you fear in a big spot. Nevertheless, Mattingly came out to the mound to replace right-handed reliever Chris Withrow with lefty Paco Rodriguez for the platoon advantage. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez countered by pinch-hitting Reed Johnson for Constanza. Mattingly countered by intentionally walking Johnson to bring up Jason Heyward — yes, Jason Heyward — for the platoon advantage. Heyward worked the count to 2-0 in his favor, took a slider for a strike, then drove a second slider back up the middle for a two-run single to put the Braves up 4-1. Bad managing strikes again.

This is not to take anything away from Braves starter Mike Minor, who made pitches when he had to and wasn’t hit particularly hard. Nor is this to take away from the Braves’ bullpen as Avilan made a heck of a play to start that double play in the top half of the seventh and Craig Kimbrel was his usual dominant self. But the Dodgers were their own worst enemy tonight and now send the NLDS to Los Angeles knotted at 1-1.

  1. cowartsh - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    The call was correct

    • RickyB - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      I would contend that the umpire couldn’t have been wrong no matter what he called, it was that close. The ball was in Simmons’ glove with the glove on Gordon’s ass before Gordon reached second, but Simmons did not secure the ball completely until after his glove was not making contact any more. To expect an umpire to discern the difference would be unrealistic. Even with all of the camera angles, the call was not definitive either way.

      • cur68 - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Hey, there’s no place for reasoned answers and a balanced view on HBT! Blatant homerism, crazed taunting, and obsessive opinions are what we’re about. They’ll scourge you with fire if they see too much of this “reason”, “fairness” or “umpire support”….even if you are right….heck, ESPECIALLY if you’re right.

    • Jeff M. - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      Mmmm, the call is generously described as “inconclusive.” Multiple angles showed that Gordon’s hand was on the bag first.

      • jjschiller - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:52 PM

      • Jeff M. - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        Good pic. I see the glove on Gordon’s hip, but it doesn’t look like the ball has arrived yet.

        However, I’m obviously a Dodgers fan, and I may be seeing this through blue colored glasses.

      • jjschiller - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:12 AM

        Dude, the ball is in his glove. You can see it in the picture. The ball is right in the pocket of his glove. Unless that white spot in his glove is a disembodied finger or something.

        There’s two other angles. The bottom photo you can see the ball, clear as day.

        I guess you could try to claim that he put his glove on a sliding runner’s ass without the ball, and kept it there, moving his glove as the sliding runner’s ass kept moving, until the ball arrived, and the ball happened to arrive right where his glove was, without him having to move it. I guess you could claim that. But seriously, you’re not looking at this through ‘blue colored glasses,’ you’re straining credulity. You can see in the very first picture that the ball is the pocket of his glove, and his glove is tagging Gordon while Gordon’s finger tips are 18 inches from the bag.

      • blacksables - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:39 AM

        Just more of the umpire hate here. They get the call right, and HBT still says they get it wrong.


  2. cowartsh - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Glove on ass ball in glove hand not on bag. Braves win

  3. Francisco (FC) - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    It kind of begs the question why Fredi didn’t automatically call in a PH for Constanza.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:20 PM

      Wait Jose WAS the PH? I need to read box scores and recaps before I post.

  4. apkyletexas - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    The back-to-back strikeouts by Gonzalez and Puig against Carpenter in the 8th inning after the Ramirez home run got them within one run – that’s where it looked to me like they blew it. After Puig went down, Kimbrel came in and locked it down like he always does for the final four outs. The Dodgers had to know they had to get something going with Gonzalez or Puig before Kimbrel got into the game, or they wouldn’t have a shot.

    • Jeff M. - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      You’d think so normally, but Kimbrel surprisingly walked two batters. If Gordon hadn’t been thrown out (either by stealing safely or just staying at first!) and one of the next batters gets a clean hit, it’s a completely different situation.

      But that didn’t happen. Looks like it’s we’re going to at least four games after all.

      • apkyletexas - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:09 AM

        I didn’t see anyone come close to getting a clean hit off of Kimbrel tonight. That’s a lot of wishful thinking.

    • moogro - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      They threw away those at-bats. I totally agree.

  5. sycophanticide - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Who gives a shit? The ump called him safe and there is no replay currently.

  6. irishdodger - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Probably doesn’t matter. Dodgers will choke & bow out unceremoniously after climbing out of the NL West cellar The Braves will advance only to fall to the Cardinals who will lose in six games in the World Series.

    • Jeff M. - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

      What’s that you say?

  7. yankeepunk3000 - Oct 5, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    yea I have to agree with most of the comments bill he looked out. Though it was a very very close call and if the replay rules were in effect they still wouldnt have enough evidence to over turn it.

  8. spacemaker101 - Oct 5, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    I know it was a sick play and he was called out.. Dee Gordon doesn’t deserve to steal a base in the post season he’s horrible.. I like how the dodgers won’t say the braves beat them but they beat theirselves lmoa.. One of the highest payrolls is gonna get beat by ATL and I’m gonna love it

  9. kansas531 - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    This article is so biased it is unreal. Title – Dodgers blow it, in order for the Dodgers to blow it, the Braves had to score some runs, which they did. They turned 3 double plays, probably just luck, their pitchers pitched out of jams, again, not the Braves fault, it was the Dodgers that did not take advantage of the situation. Not really sure why the Braves are ignored/disliked so much by all the announcers/writers. The Dodgers came into the series favored while the Braves have a better pitcher ERA, the batters have more home runs and a higher batting average and a deeper bench. What gives. However, one of the announcers last night did say that as he saw it, so far, the Dodgers had gotten most of the close pitches, close calls/breaks. Almost floored me. Also, he stated that Freeman would be his choice for MVP, but no one else even mentions him. – .317 BA, 23 homers, 105 RBIs, excellent fielder, playing on the team with one of the top 3 win/loss records in the majors. How can he be overlooked, oh yeah, he plays for the Braves.

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