Having captured the attention of the entire baseball world with their 39-8 run, it remains hard to believe that the 2013 Dodgers had another memorable “something-and-8” this year — beginning the month of May with an 0-8 start.
It’s a trip down Bad Memory Lane that should make you feel fantastic about the journey back. Here’s how it happened — how this team was once that team …
Rockies 7, Dodgers 3 (May 1)
Main event: Josh Beckett was still a part of the Dodger rotation. He allowed three runs in the first inning, and was replaced after the fourth inning, having given up five runs (four earned) and eight baserunners on 83 pitches.
Sidelights: The Dodgers were only down 5-3 when Kenley Jansen faced two batters in the seventh inning, retired neither and was charged with two runs. Los Angeles also wasted a three-hit game from Hanley Ramirez, only his second complete game of his injury-riddled year.
Takeaway: Ineffective starting pitching and ineffective relief pitching is an unfortunate combo that the summertime Dodgers obviously haven’t often seen. But buckle up — we’re just getting started with these Dodgers of early May.
Giants 2, Dodgers 1 (May 3)
Main event: Overtly, it was Buster Posey’s walkoff home run leading off the bottom of the ninth against Ronald Belisario. But arguably, the key aspect of the loss was the Dodgers’ parlaying 11 hits and seven walks into one single run. The team left 13 runners on base and hit into three double plays.
Sidelights: As part of a trend that hasn’t entirely abated, Clayton Kershaw was not rewarded for pitching well: seven innings, six baserunners, one run, no decision. He allowed his run in the sixth inning, the same inning that Ramirez pulled up lame running from first to third, his last game action for more than a month.
Takeaway: The Dodgers still haven’t gotten completely away from stranding runners, but they certainly have done better recently. Those with backbone saw the Dodgers’ ability to get runners on base in the first place, even if they didn’t score, as a good sign.
Giants 10, Dodgers 9 (May 4)
Main event: In one of the wildest games of the season, Los Angeles had a seven-run fifth inning and still lost, once again on a walkoff homer, by none other than Guillermo Quiroz off Brandon League.
Sidelights: After a mostly encouraging first start April 27, Matt Magill’s problems surfaced boldly in this one: 14 batters, 10 baserunners, four outs, five runs. Nick Punto walked to start the seven-run inning and an RBI double to cap it, all for naught.
Takeaway: Four different Dodger relievers allowed runs, and three of them remain on the roster: J.P. Howell, Belisario and losing pitcher Brandon League. Over recent weeks: same guys, different results.
Giants 4, Dodgers 3 (May 5)
Main event: Down 4-0 in the eighth, the Dodgers rallied for three runs, thanks in part to a pinch-hit, two-run single by Adrian Gonzalez, but Jerry Hairston, Jr. stranded the tying run at second base.
Sidelights: Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed four runs in six innings.
Takeaway: This was the three-game sweep that prompted Don Mattingly to comment, in fashion that raised the eyebrows of T.J. Simers and a number of others, “I feel better about our club walking out of here than I did walking in.” Simers called Mattingly ridiculous, but it turns out that focusing on the subtext, rather than the text, was the right call. Of course, this wasn’t the last time that comments by Mattingly would be scrutinized.
Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2 (May 6)
Main event: Chris Capuano got blasted in his first start after 20 days on the sidelines, allowing three runs in the second and three runs in the fifth.
Sidelights: The Dodgers trailed by one heading into the fifth before being blown away. Javy Guerra capped things by allowing three runs in the ninth.
Takeaway: In their past 48 games, the Dodgers have lost by more than four runs once. The timing of a loss of this nature, which dropped Los Angeles into last place for the first time in 2013, just as Mattingly’s comments were generating controversy, could hardly have been much worse.
Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 3 (May 7)
Main event: A two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt off Brandon League in the top of the ninth decided this one. At the time, this was just a cruel mismatch.
Sidelights: Beckett held together to allow three runs over six innings, and the Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on a Skip Schmaker walk and Punto double. Jansen threw 18 pitches in the eighth inning, so there was little chance he would pitch the ninth even if Mattingly were inclined to use him then.
Takeaway: This was the third bullpen loss of the past week. Dodger relievers have had one loss charged to them in their past 49 games.
Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2 (May 8 )
Main event: Goldschmidt again, but this time his tiebreaking home run came in the eighth off Jansen.
Sidelights: Leading 2-0 in the sixth, Kershaw allowed his own homer to Goldschmidt after Didi Gregorius (love that name) reached on a Dee Gordon error. Gordon was the only Dodger with two hits in the game.
Takeaway: Home runs off Kershaw and Jansen? When things were going badly, they were going very badly.
Marlins 5, Dodgers 4 (May 10)
Main event: Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run home run in the first inning, propeling the Dodgers to the end of their seven-game losing streak. Except, not.
Sidelights: Belisario took another loss, thanks to a two-run Marlins seventh that broke a 3-3 tie. The Dodgers’ scored once in the eighth on A.J. Ellis’ third hit of the game, but after a one-out wild pitch, he was stranded. Magill allowed three runs in five innings.
Takeaway: Not enough offense, not enough pitching. Again.
When I look at the Dodger team that has chosen to spread its eight losses over eight weeks rather than compressing them into one week, I have trouble quite believing they could be that good — just like I had trouble believing they could be quite that bad.
But with a bullpen taking five losses in eight games, you had to hope for some kind of change. Thankfully, that change did arrive, and it’s just surreal.