The Dodgers managed to gift-wrap last night’s loss to the White Sox, and the LA Times’s Bill Shaikin was front and center for The Blame Game.
With his team collapsing around him, Jeff Kent (above) called a meeting late Saturday night. He looked around at the young players and career minor leaguers that now populate the clubhouse, and he told them they had the talent to win if they could show the smarts to win and learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them.
On Sunday, the Dodgers failed again. They made three errors, their setup man committed a cardinal sin, their bullpen coughed up another late lead and their first baseman messed up the kind of play you practice in the first week of spring training.
The White Sox scored two runs in the sixth inning, thanks largely to errors by Weaver and outfielder Jason Repko. They scored two more in the eighth, an inning that began with Sanchez walking Frank Thomas to put the potential tying run on base.
Pablo Ozuna ran for Thomas, and Scott Podsednik bunted. Catcher Jason Phillips fielded the bunt and threw to Kent, who stretched to make the catch at first base. Podsednik was ruled safe, although replays showed he was out, and Kent went ballistic.
After the game, however, the Dodgers appeared less upset with the call than with first baseman Hee-Seop Choi, who didn’t get out of the way on the play, forcing Phillips to throw wide.
Kent, asked whether he had a clean line of sight on the throw, said, “No. Nor did Jason.”
Willie Harris moved the runners along with a bunt, Aaron Rowand singled them home and the White Sox had the winning runs.
“I was flabbergasted at the game in general,” Phillips said. “I don’t know what to say. You think you’ve seen it all, and then something comes along that you’ve never seen.
“There are just so many things that just snowballed. I don’t know. Maybe I should just play cricket.”
Choi was indeed, in the way — he either had to cover the bag or get out of the path of Phillips’ throw, a point Kent illustrated to him in the dugout (captured in glorious high-def) with some crazy arm waving and shouting. Interesting to note that Jim Tracy has no problem with his second baseman showing up other players on national TV. Perhaps defensive guru Kent can take Hee-Seop under his wing and teach him more of the great game’s fundamentals (ie. how to bring a gun onto an airplane, wheelie popping / truck-washing, moonlighting for the Reno police department, etc.).
Jeff Brantley, by the way, is still going on about how Chicago’s 8 blown saves can be traced to Ozzie Guillen’s misuse of Dustin Hermanson. Apparently, warming Hermanson up and then not using him takes the sort of physical and psychic toll on the White Sox reliever that non-pitchers will never fathom.