Brandon League had a classic Jonathan Broxton-style loss today (and I realize that putting both those names in the same sentence could do to the Internet what Walter White does to dispose a body on Breaking Bad).
League took the mound trying to keep the Dodgers alive against the Phillies, a fielder made an error, Carlos Ruiz did something, and then a fielder made another error, and the game was over. The Dodgers, who hadn’t lost since August 6 and hadn’t surrendered a lead of any kind since August 8, wasted Andre Ethier’s home run off lefthander Cole Hamels, let a 2-0 midgame advantage slip away and fell to Philadelphia, 3-2.
So no, this loss shouldn’t get pinned on League, who isn’t nearly as good as the Internet-abused Broxton was in his heyday and couldn’t get a strikeout when he needed one, but nevertheless deserved to get out of the inning without a run. Hanley Ramirez, who went 0 for 4 before making both ninth-inning errors, will have to be the fall guy for this one. Given Ramirez’s track record in 2013, he can take it.
You can also fault Don Mattingly for feeling the need to put League into a tie game in the ninth in place of a sizzling Paco Rodriguez (who had retired four batters on 15 pitches) to face Casper Wells, 12 for 80 going into today’s game with his third major-league team of the year. Leaving Rodriguez in the game or going straight to Kenley Jansen, when you knew you needed to pitch shutout ball, were obvious options.
As for the fact that the Dodgers lost without using Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford or A.J. Ellis, well, either you believe in resting position players or you don’t. If you do, well, you assume that the long-term benefit of the full day off outweighs the short-term impact they could have had on this particular game. (Plus, the subs for Gonzalez and Crawford went a combined 4 for 8, though perhaps Gonzalez would have fielded the bouncing throw from Ramirez that Jerry Hairston Jr. missed).
If you don’t believe in player rest, well, there’s always tomorrow.