LOS ANGELES -- The last thing the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers hitters needed to see was a '4' on the scoreboard before they even came to bat.
On a cool, gusty Tuesday night, all the wind was taken out of Dodger Stadium in the first inning when Chris Capuano got hit hard in his return to the team's rotation. The Dodgers lost, 9-2, to the San Diego Padres, and they lost yet another starting pitcher. Capuano left the game in the third inning after straining his left calf covering first base.
The Dodgers have stumbled into a bit of an early rut, having lost four of their past five games, all inside the division.
The primary culprit has been a lack of clutch hitting, but it was hard to blame the offense for not rallying out of the hole Capuano dug. Making just his third appearance of the season and first start, Capuano allowed five runs on five hits and walked two in two innings.
Capuano might not have gotten out of the first inning if the Padres hadn't given up one out -- on Everth Cabrera's sacrifice bunt -- and lined one directly to Matt Kemp,; Jedd Gyorko's ball was arguably the hardest-hit of the inning.
The good news for the Dodgers is they were able to give some of their regulars a little rest after things got out of hand. L.A. managed just four hits against Jason Marquis and a couple of relievers. None of those hits came with men in scoring position and none came off the bat of Kemp, who is batting .185.
The two Chicago teams and the Los Angeles Angels are the only teams that have been worse with men in scoring position this season.