Let's play a game called, "Who was the worst baserunner on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning Wednesday night?"
If just ONE of these guys doesn't mess up, the Dodgers could have avoided losing their sixth straight game.
Please bring out the contestants!
• He's big, strong and fast, but lapses in concentration have called his commitment to excellence into question by the general manager ... from Midwest City, Okla., put your hands together for Mr. Rihanna, it's Matt Kemp(notes)!
• This catcher
won tied for eighth runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year four seasons ago and stole 21 bases as a sophomore, but his skills seem to be in rapid decline overall... from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where baseball died when the Expos left town, it's Russell Jeanson Martin!
• This go-getter is known for — ironically — his hustle, especially on defense. While playing for the Cubs, he once made a great catch while landing on his face, but now he's got egg on his face ... from Riverside, Calif., his names combine to be quite suggestive, it's Reed Johnson(notes)!
Kemp reached on an error to lead off the inning and moved to second on a single. One out later with Martin batting, Fuentes wheeled to second — it looked like he balked — and threw to pick Kemp off second for the second out.
Torre recalled telling his players about Fuentes' spinaround pickoff move earlier this month.
"You need more than ability you were born with to play this game," Torre said. "You need to be able to think and keep your head in the game... "
Martin walked to put runners at first and second — where Johnson was pinch running — and Jamey Carroll(notes) blooped a single to left. Rather than trying for a lost cause at the plate, outfielder Juan Rivera(notes) threw behind Martin, who had overrun second base.
Meanwhile, Johnson had not crossed home plate yet; He, in fact, had slowed down.
"As I'm about ready to cross home plate, I hear the crowd starting to go crazy," Johnson said.
Finally realizing he needed to hurry, Johnson hustled in his final steps toward the plate, but it was too late. Martin was tagged for the third out and slammed down his helmet in protest, which prompted his ejection — from a game that already had ended.
"Then I turn back around and I see the umpire at that time has already called Russ out, so I was kind of looking around for answers," Johnson said.
(You should have just run home and asked questions later, Reed old boy.)
TV replays showed Martin had gotten back to the bag, and Torre went to argue, but it was just a formality. The Dodgers had no moral grounds to make a beef.
"It's a terrible mistake," Martin said. "I won't make it again, I promise you that."
The Dodgers can be taken on the bases. But they probably cannot be taken for their word.
"I thought we gave it away," Torre said.
That much is certain.
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