A Rough Stretch

Good evening all, last time I spoke to you guys, the Dodgers were about to embark on a 3-game series with the Chicago White Sox, they took two-of the-three games, winning the finale of that series in thrilling fashion with a walk-off hit by Dee Gordon in the 10th inning.  My, how the Dodgers fortunes have changed since then.  The Dodgers went up to Oakland only to find themselves swept, scoring only 2 runs in 3 games, the final blow of that series being a walk-off 3-run homer by A’s rookie Yoenis Coespedes.  The Dodgers would come down to Anaheim to finish up the Freeway Series with the Angels, again dropping 2 of 3.   The Dodgers put themselves in a great position to win the series opener, staking Chad Billingsley to a 5-0 lead after the first two innings, however, by the 4th inning, he had already relinquished the lead, the decisive blow being a solo-shot from Angels’ rookie sensation Mike Trout, that gave the Angels a 6-5 lead, that would hold in an 8-5 loss.  The Dodgers would win the 2nd game of the series 3-1 behind another strong performance from Chris Capuano who was snubbed out of the All-Star game despite a 9-3 record and 2.69 ERA.  The Dodgers bullpen would fall short again in the series finale as newly-minted All-star Mark Trumbo would drive in the go-ahead run in the 7th off of Josh Lindblom.  The Angels have won the season series against the Dodgers six years in a row now.  As if things weren’t interesting enough, with the Dodgers having lost 5 of 6 games, the San Francisco Giants have been slowly gaining ground all season, now with only a 3 game lead, the Dodgers would head back north to AT&T Park.  The result would not be pretty.  Three consecutive shutouts by the Giants.  The Dodgers would be shutout for all 27 innings in San Francisco and including the preceding and proceeding series with the Angels and the New York Mets, the Dodgers endured a total of 33 scoreless innings.  To repeat a common phrase, adding insult to injury, Andre Ethier strained his oblique muscle in his first at-bat of the series finale against the Giants.  He has been out since.  The Dodgers are now without their two best position players fielding a lineup that is currently consisting of Bobby Abreu batting 3rd, which would have been great back in 2005, Juan Rivera batting cleanup and Adam Kennedy batting fifth.  Juan Uribe has been slowed considerably by injuries and is now unreliable batting a measly .200 with a homer and 12 RBI in 42 games.  James Loney also appears to have fallen out of favor finding himself on the bench more often than not.  Loney, who was once considered to be part of the core of the future along with Ethier and Matt Kemp continues his nearly two-year struggle at the plate hitting only .242 with 2 homers and 23 RBI in 76 games this season.  According to many outlets, the Dodgers had a trade in place for aging Astros slugger Carlos Lee, who would have replaced Loney in the starting lineup.  Lee, who has a no-trade clause, declined the trade to the Dodgers, as he is an avid cattle rancher in Texas.  The Dodgers week got no better as they lost 3 of 4 games to the Mets, again, breaking a scoreless streak and a seven-game losing streak on Sunday by winning 8-3.  Despite scoring for the first time in more than 3 games on Thursday, Chris Young matched Chris Capuano pitch-for-pitch and the Mets came away with a 3-2 victory in the series opener behind a go-ahead home run from David Wright, who was snubbed by all-star voters for Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval.  Wright sports a .354 avg with 9 HR and 50 RBI, Sandoval has a .300 avg, but only 6 homers and 25 RBI, Wright has also scored twice as many runs as Sandoval, you make the call.  On Friday night, the Dodgers faced the man who has been arguably the best pitcher in the National League this year, with a breakout year at age 37, knuckleballer RA Dickey.  Dickey reiterated his case to start the All-Star Game shutting down the Dodgers for 8 innings, striking out 10,  and improving his record to 12-1.   Dickey hasn’t lost in 10 straight decisions dating back to April 18.  The wheels would completely fall off in this one as the Dodgers would commit 2 errors and be shut out 9-0.  Things wouldn’t get any better Saturday night against Johan Santana, who threw a no-hitter back on June 1.  Santana threw another 8 shutout innings and Nathan Eovaldi had his worts start of the year surrendering 5 runs in 5 1/3 innings.  Over his last two starts Eovaldi has seen his ERA balloon from 2.35 to 4.61.  The Dodgers would finish the month of June with an 11-18 record, one game back in the standings of the San Francisco Giants.  July would finally bring relief.  Clayton Kershaw, named to his second straight All-Star Game would keep the Mets in check for 7 innings, as the Dodgers finally broke out and scored some runs after.  The Dodgers had to overcome a 3-1 deficit, and two-throwing errors from Dee Gordon to take a 4-3 lead, and eventually score some unearned runs of their own, ultimately winning the game 8-3.  Kershaw struck out Mets and didn’t allow a baserunner after the 5th inning.  Gordon heard boos from the crowd his next at-bat after the back-to-back errors which gave the Mets a 3-1 lead.  However, Gordon’s 3 stolen bases helped spark the Dodgers rally.  The Dodgers broke their 63 inning scoreless streak, a season-high (or low) seven-game losing streak, and even James Loney broke out of an 0-25 slump with a 2-RBI double.  So, would the Dodgers turn the corner in July, it almost looked that way, as the Dodgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead last night against the NL-Central leading Cincinnati Reds.  Chad Billingsley pitched a solid 6 innings, striking out 8, and surrendering only 3 earned runs.  The Dodgers would be unable to stage a rally as the bullpen imploded with Todd Coffey surrendering 2 runs in the 8th, and Jamey Wright 3 unearned runs in the 9th, good for an 8-3 Cincinnati victory.  Tonight’s game will feature two of the bigger all-star snubs as Chris Capuano takes the hill for the Boys in Blue, against the Reds’ Johnny Cueto.  Capuano boast a 9-3 record with a 2.69 ERA, Cueto sports a 9-4 record with a paltry 2.26 ERA.  Matt Kemp and Mark Ellis have both begun rehab assignments, and Andre Ethier is taking batting practice, if the Dodgers can survive the final week before the All-Star break, they should have reinforcements waiting for them.

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