Through Thursday, the Dodgers relievers' collective ERA of 4.41 was the sixth highest in baseball and the 13 losses charged to Dodgers relievers were the most in the majors. But all of the blame does not belong on them, according to GM Ned Colletti.
"Probably as much as any game, in this game, one thing affects every other thing," Colletti said. "When it's 1-0 and you've got to protect a 1-0 lead -- yeah, sure, you should protect that. But it's tough to do that and then the next day protect a two-run lead. It's nice if it was 5-0 one day, 8-0 one day. Mix one of those in once in a while.
"I think we need to score more runs. I think we need to be better in the clutch. We need to be better with runners in scoring position. I think if we're able to do that, I think you'd see a different dynamic, including the 'pen."
Things weren't any better Friday night, when the Dodgers were shut out by the Cardinals 7-0 in the opener of the three-game weekend series.
The Dodgers' offensive struggles (only the Miami Marlins have scored fewer runs) have indeed put the team's pitching staff on a tightrope far too frequently. But manager Don Mattingly expressed confidence in the players he has in the bullpen.
"I still think Brandon League has great stuff and he's going to get guys out," Mattingly said. "Kenley Jansen has great stuff and he's going to get guys out. Belly (Ronald Belisario) has great stuff and is going to get guys out. J.P. (Howell) is going to get guys out. I still think Paco (Rodriguez) is going to get guys out.
"I think people here are going to get guys out. That being said, you've got to look at the team. We put pressure on them (the relievers) where these guys can't give up one run. ... You can't say the bullpen let us down when you put up two runs. It's not fair to say that they can't afford to give up a run."
NEXT: Cardinals (John Gast, 2-0, 4.6) at Dodgers (Ted Lilly, 0-1, 5.63)
LHP Chris Capuano seemed to have rounded back into form after going 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA over his previous two starts, but he took an obvious step back against the Cardinals Friday after getting roughed up for six runs on six hits—including a pair of home runs. Capuano is now 1-3 with a 5.60 ERA.
RF Andre Ethier was back in the lineup after getting benched Wednesday in Milwaukee, with manager Don Mattingly expressing some concern about the lack of hustle, grit and determination some players were showing. Mattingly didn't specifically single out Ethier, but it was obvious who he was talking about considering Ethier was on the bench. The veteran outfielder was hopeful of a meeting with Mattingly to clear the air about the concerns. "If that's the way he feels, if that's an area I need help in or need adjusting and they feel that way, I'm open eared to it and to address it and make it better," Ethier said.
CF Matt Kemp had reached base three times Wednesday against Milwaukee, going 2-for-4 with a walk, stolen base, RBI and run scored to show signs of coming back to life. But he took a meek 0-for-3 against the Cardinals and is now batting .266 with a .314 on-base percentage. If the Dodgers have any hope of turning things around, Kemp must produce. But thus far, that has not been the case.
C A.J. Ellis has thrown out 11 of 24 base runners attempting to steal on him this season (45.8 percent). He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and his 11 caught runners is the best in the major leagues.
1B/OF Scott Van Slyke picked up his third multi-hit game in five starts (eight games) Wednesday against Milwaukee. Van Slyke drove in two runs with a pair of doubles against the Brewers. Five of Van Slyke's six big-league hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles, three home runs) while nine of his 16 career hits have resulted in extra bases.
"It's not the way you envision coming home and getting the homestand going."—Manager Don Mattingly, after the Dodgers were blanked by the Cardinals 7-0 Friday.
INF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 6. He was sent on a rehab assignment to Rancho Cucamonga on May 24.
RHP Josh Beckett (strained left groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14. He began a light throwing program as of May 21.
SS Hanley Ramirez (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 4. As of May 21, he was taking ground balls and doing some running during his daily workouts. He might start a minor league rehab assignment during the final days of May or early June.
RHP Stephen Fife (right shoulder bursitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 22.
RHP Shawn Tolleson (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 13. He had surgery April 25 to treat a herniated disk. He is expected to be sidelined until at least late July.
LHP Scott Elbert (arthroscopic left elbow surgeries in September 2012 and January 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 10 and as of May 21 is now at Double-A Chattanooga on his rehab assignment.
RHP Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery in April 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 10. He's out for the season.
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Zack Greinke
LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
LHP Chris Capuano
LHP Ted Lilly
RHP Brandon League (closer)
RHP Kenley Jansen
RHP Ronald Belisario
LHP J.P. Howell
RHP Matt Guerrier
LHP Paco Rodriguez
RHP Javy Guerra
1B Adrian Gonzalez
2B Mark Ellis
SS Dee Gordon
3B Luis Cruz
INF Nick Punto
INF Juan Uribe
INF/OF Scott Van Slyke
LF Carl Crawford
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
OF/INF Skip Schumaker