It’s panic in the streets! The Dodgers, baseball’s latest world beaters, are in a horrifying slump!
They fell, 6-2, on Monday to the lowly Miami Marlins, marking a second consecutive loss -- which is the first time they have lost consecutive games in nearly two months.
That’s an amazing stretch of consistent, well-played baseball, which would explain a team winning 42 of 50 games and charging from last to first in a seeming heartbeat.
The last time the Dodgers lost back-to-back games was June 20-21 in San Diego. At that point they were a 30-42 team, not the team holding a 7½-game lead in the National League West.
But this new and improved version of the Dodgers could do little with Miami’s young ace, Jose Fernandez, who seemed to take particular delight in shutting down fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig and former Marlins star Hanley Ramirez. Puig went 0 for 5 and Ramirez 0 for 4, both with two strikeouts.
Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched well, but not exceptional enough to avoid losing his first game in 10 starts. He allowed only six hits, but they came in three-hit bunches.
The Marlins, last in the majors in nearly every offensive category, took a 2-0 lead with three two-out hits in the third.
The Dodgers got one back, but only one, after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. Juan Uribe and Mark Ellis singled, and Ryu was safe on an error to put the Dodgers in prime scoring territory.
The Dodgers tied it in the sixth after Andre Ethier was hit on the left kneecap by a Fernandez curve, and then scored on a double by Uribe.
The Marlins took back the lead in the bottom of the inning with another three consecutive hits, Logan Morrison’s double driving in the winning run. Ryu avoided more damage by getting Adeiny Hechavarria to bounce into a double play.
Ryu (12-4) went 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five and lost for the first time since June 19.
Fernandez (9-5) was fairly dominant. He went six innings, with only one of his two runs earned. He struck out eight, allowed only four hits and walked three.
The Dodgers’ bullpen, which had allowed only one earned run in its last 27 innings, got into the suddenly struggling spirit by giving up three runs in the eighth. Giancarlo Stanton took reliever Chris Withrow deep for his 15th home run. After another Morrison double, Ed Lucas singled of J.P. Howell to drive in one more. A Howell wild pitch set Hechavarria up for a run-scoring base hit.
And the Dodgers had lost two straight, just like regular teams.