LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers played to the level of the competition, and then some, Tuesday night.
How it happened: Maybe it was the four-hour game they played the night before or maybe the lack of off-days is catching up with them. Maybe they are starting to look ahead to the All-Star Game. Or, maybe they just played a really lousy game. Whatever the reason(s), this one was pretty bad. The Dodgers ran themselves into outs in the first two innings to let Billingsley, a two-time arm surgery patient, off the hook. Justin Turner strayed way too far from first base on Adrian Gonzalez's line drive to the warning track in right field and was doubled up. Yasmani Grandal tried to go from first-to-third on Yasiel Puig's bloop single to right and was out by 15 feet. Making the first out at third base is one of the game's fundamental no-nos. Puig later fumbled the ball picking up Darin Ruf's single to right and let two runners take extra bases. They each scored. Turner made an error on a tough slow roller near the line. And Brett Anderson simply allowed too many base runners (eight) in his five innings. Meanwhile, once the Dodgers helped him out early on, Billingsley -- whose option the Dodgers declined last November -- actually looked pretty solid pitching six innings. Grandal did the only damage, lining a two-run home run to center field.
What it means: Even though the Dodgers had won eight of their previous 12 and were playing the worst team in baseball, Tuesday was a reminder that they can't just throw their gloves on the field and expect to win.
Notable: Grandal, who was picked for his first All-Star team Monday, looks like the biggest no-brainer among the Dodgers headed to Cincinnati -- with the exception of Zack Greinke. The home run was his 14th, which leads NL catchers with at least 150 plate appearances. He also leads in OPS (.901). He is second to Buster Posey in WAR (3.4 to 2.2). ... The Dodgers need to figure out a way to stabilize the back of their rotation because it will affect the bullpen before long, if it hasn't already. The past three games, Dodger relievers needed to pitch 15 innings. ... Puig was dropped to the No. 6 spot in the lineup Tuesday. That's the furthest down he has batted this season. He is in a 7-for-42 (.167) slump with just three extra base hits and 10 strikeouts in his last 11 games. ... When the Dodgers were making up their minds whether to challenge an out call on a close play involving Billingsley and Jimmy Rollins at first base, Billingsley, smiling, yelled into the Dodgers dugout a couple of times. Perhaps the stout pitcher was bragging about his speed.
Up next: The series continues Wednesday night at 7:10 PT. Clayton Kershaw (5-6, 3.08 ERA) tries to bolster his case to win the final All-Star Game spot. He'll be opposed by Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan (1-1, 2.13 ERA) making just his third major league start.