LOS ANGELES -- Given consecutive 15-day DL stints announced for Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Uribe, on top of the lingering absences of Hanley Ramirez and Josh Beckett -- plus Friday's 6-3 loss still fresh in their heads -- the Los Angeles Dodgers had an opportunity to make a regrouping statement against a quality opponent. Over the course of nine mostly listless innings, that challenge went unanswered in a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Matt Kemp made matters interesting down the stretch, but in the end, there just weren't enough bullets in the clip. It's not the first time the Dodgers have faced a patch of adverse circumstances, and their track record for rebounding makes them a safe bet to figure things out, but until that moment, a couple bumps might be in the works.
How it happened: On a night when Clayton Kershaw was merely "good" as opposed to "typically superhuman," the Dodger bats went collectively ice cold and failed to pick up the slack -- only seven hits in all and, until Kemp's dramatic bomb into the left-field stands (bubbles for all my friends!), a ball reaching the outfield felt as infrequent as a Yeti sighting. Put it all together, and the Dodgers looked, physically and mentally, like a team feeling the effects of several games played with pieces increasingly missing.
Hits: Every baseball player is a human being, and that even includes soon-to-be back-to-back Cy Young winners such as Kershaw. After carrying a perfect game into the fourth, Kershaw suddenly turned uncharacteristically vulnerable. With a man on and a count working against him, Kershaw put a strike in Ryan Braun's sweet spot, and the result was a two-run homer. He then surrendered a solo shot to Carlos Gomez in the sixth, which marked the Claw's first game with two home runs allowed since Sept. 8, 2013. Still, Kershaw threw a complete game, and though perhaps his lofty standards weren’t met, he was hardly the reason his team lost. He'd likely place himself in the "misses" category if given editorial control of this column, but that's why an objective party is necessary.
Kemp's ninth-inning homer? Holy moly, did he get all of that!
Justin Turner got the Dodgers on the board with a timely fourth-inning knock to score Carl Crawford. He was eventually caught trying to take second, but given the light bats that followed him, superior scoring position was worth the gamble. Turner also stole a base in the second, so perhaps he was just in the mood for some running.
Crawford and Yasiel Puig put their legs to good use, as they both beat throws from Rickie Weeks for singles. Granted, the ability to reach first shouldn't qualify as a highlight, but I can only work with the material provided.
Misses: Miguel Rojas, typically a slick fielder, turned a routine ground ball into an error when the ball slipped out of his hand while he attempted the throw. A blooper-reel classic, to be sure, but not as funny when it's your team. Whether pure coincidence or in reaction to the error, Darwin Barney was soon inserted as a defensive replacement. In the ninth inning, Turner let a playable ball roll past his glove.
Again, it bears mentioning the bats were, for the most part, really quiet.
Stat of the game: The Dodgers were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Talk amongst yourselves to decide which of those numbers is worse.
What's next: The Dodgers look to prevent a series sweep by sending out starter Dan Haren (10-9, 4.50 ERA), who’s been dealing of late, after a stretch rough enough to potentially jeopardize his spot in the rotation. He'll be matched against Wily Peralta (14-7, 3.46).