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By Jon Weisman
So rather quickly, the Dodgers’ 4-3, 10-inning loss to Arizona on Friday was characterized as the latest chapter in that ongoing pulp series, The Bullpen Fails!
J.P. Howell didn’t deliver what the Dodgers needed in the bottom of the 10th, sandwiching two walks around a wild pitch, then giving up a game-winning single to Ender Inciarte that thwarted the Dodgers’ five-man infield (highlighted by Yasiel Puig at third).
Without ignoring how much everyone wants perfection from every reliever, every inning, putting all the blame on the bullpen is kind of crazy after Yimi Garcia and Joel Peralta struck out six in three scoreless innings, retiring nine of 10 batters.
Nor do I want to single out Howell, who had a 1.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP through his first 46 innings last season, for villainy. The Dodger offense went scoreless in five innings against the Diamondbacks’ relievers. Starting pitcher Brett Anderson pitched well, but made a mistake to the one guy you can’t make a mistake to, Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt.
If this were football, we’d have to wait a week to put the loss behind us. Thankfully, it’s baseball, and we’re back tonight, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound no less.