Three players got a chance to play there Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers, and for two of them, the night didn't end so well.
Hanley Ramirez left after the first inning because of a side injury and will get an MRI exam Saturday to determine the extent of the damage. Miguel Rojas got his chance to play early, and, after an uneventful five-plus innings, he was lifted for a pinch hitter.
It was hard to fault manager Don Mattingly's decision at the time, since the Dodgers needed offense and Andre Ethier delivered with a run-scoring, infield single while batting for Rojas. Ethier's hit put the Dodgers ahead briefly.
That lead wouldn't last long as Justin Turner got his chance to quarterback the infield, only to fumble twice and throw an interception. Not only did Turner whiff on a potential double-play ball up the middle (it was scored a hit for pinch hitter Mark Reynolds), he also booted a ground ball by Khris Davis that put runners on the corners.
Was it a classic case of the game quickly finding the player in Turner, who came in cold off the bench?
"That's a classic case of, I didn't catch the f---ing ball twice and I didn't throw a ball to first base," Turner said afterward. "I think everyone saw it, and it's as simple as that. So write whatever you want."
Under ideal circumstances, Mattingly wouldn't have used Turner at shortstop late in the game, but the Ramirez injury forced him into more moves than he wanted.
"Yeah, obviously, you're not going to be able to set yourself up how you want," Mattingly said. "We had a choice early to go [Rojas] or [Turner]. We figured Roberto is a ground ball pitcher and wanted to play defense there for him. And then we trust [Turner]. He's played good everywhere on the infield and has been sure-handed. We were comfortable where we were at."
Depending on how Ramirez's MRI turns out, Mattingly could have more shortstop decisions to make. The Dodgers hope they caught the side injury early enough, but if it turns out to be a serious oblique issue, Ramirez could take longer than a 15-day disabled list stint to heal.
"I would have [scratched myself from the lineup], but I don't want to get out of the game," Ramirez said. "I don't want to take myself out of the lineup."
The Dodgers' issues on defense in the seventh inning weren't limited to shortstop, as pitcher Brandon League wildly shoveled a ball to home plate with his glove on a squeeze attempt when he still had time to at least make a backhanded throw.
And on a throw to the plate by Yasiel Puig later in the inning, catcher Drew Butera didn't try to tag Davis, even though it looked as if he had time to make the play. Davis scored as Butera threw to third base to retire Gomez trying to advance, mercifully ending the inning.
"Yeah, it was actually a pretty good game there until the seventh, and then we defensively kind of let our pitching down, really," Mattingly said. "It was just our defense in general that let it down. Unfortunate. Brandon comes in and gets ground balls -- what he's trying to do, what we ask him to do, and we don't get what we want."