SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers had an angry clubhouse after their 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday night. Their ire was greater than one might expect from a team that had won five of six games coming in and had clawed its way out of a deep hole in the standings.
Some of the frustration probably stemmed from their ninth-inning collapse. Some of it probably stemmed from their inability to get on the roll they’ve been sensing, but not finding, for a couple of weeks now. The loss, which came when closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the ninth inning, kept them from their first four-game winning streak of the year.
But most of the aggravation was more prosaic than that.
They were upset with umpire Paul Schrieber’s strike zone, which they considered almost impossibly tight.
Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren admitted he and Schrieber had been in a “dialogue” about it all game long, and one could see Haren yelling in Schrieber’s direction in the sixth inning.
San Diego pitcher Ian Kennedy also threw up his hands in Schrieber's direction a few times and barked in his direction as he left the mound in the fifth inning.
The Dodgers thought Jansen had struck out Will Venable a few pitches before Venable sent a slicing drive into the left-center field gap to drive in the tying run and way before he scored the winning run on Everth Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.
Haren, who pitched well aside from two Seth Smith home runs, admitted to being a bit ticked off about that, too. He threw up his hands after the second Smith home run in the sixth. Smith has hit four home runs against the Dodgers in four games against them.
“With all due respect, I mean it’s Seth Smith. It’s not Babe Ruth,” Haren said. “He was pretty much Babe Ruth tonight. I mean, he’s hit me well in the past and it was just a little bit of frustration.”
When the Dodgers got mad a month ago, they seemed to get mad at one another. Outfielders were sporadically upset at Don Mattingly for not playing them. Arguments broke out, sometimes in front of the media rather than behind closed doors. When they get mad now, it seems to be aimed outward, which seems like a meaningful distinction.
Jansen held himself accountable for Friday night’s implosion. Alexi Amarista blooped a single to center, pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin lashed a double into the left-field corner and Venable, after a questionable take on an 0-and-2 pitch, hit a soaring drive to left-center when the Dodgers' outfield was playing him to pull.
“I didn’t help the team win, so I didn’t do the job today,” Jansen said. “I’ve got to do better.”
Mattingly has admitted the Dodgers have been spurred along lately by the San Francisco Giants’ dramatic slowdown. After a 13-3 run, the Giants have lost seven of their last eight to let the Dodgers back in the race. A Dodgers win Friday would have trimmed San Francisco’s lead -- once 9 1/2 games -- to three, the lowest it had been since early May.
Then, chaos broke loose and the Dodgers got mad about it. Seems like a fairly healthy response.