Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez, Roberto Hernandez struggle in loss to Padres

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 10 September 2014 | 12.56

The Dodgers have waited patiently for the electric bat of Hanley Ramirez to return, while crossing fingers on his defensive liabilities.

The offense may yet come around, but there's no real hope he will suddenly turn into Ozzie Smith at shortstop, or even revert to a 22-year-old Ramirez.

His shortcomings with the glove were on full display in the second inning Tuesday night when he was charged with a pair of errors that help lead to three runs in the San Diego Padres' 6-3 victory before a Dodger Stadium of 45,213.

The loss dropped the Dodgers lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West to 2 1/2 games. There are 17 games left in the regular season.

Right-hander Roberto Hernandez started and struggled for his fourth consecutive outing (6.27 earned-run average), almost relinquishing any claim to a rotation spot should the Dodgers advance to the playoffs.

Hernandez lasted three innings. He was charged with five runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk.

It might have worked out a little differently for Hernandez (8-11) if Ramirez had been more adept with the glove in the second.

Hernandez got the first two outs of the inning when Rymer Liriano hit a routine bouncer to the right of Ramirez. He went to backhand the ball but did not get the glove down enough and it shot between his legs.

Alexi Amarista followed with a single to left that moved Liriano to third. Then, opposing pitcher Andrew Cashner lined a double to center to score both. Yasiel Puig retrieved the drive and threw it back in. It wasn't the best throw, but Ramirez failed to get his glove on this one too, and it squirted by for another error as Cashner took third.

The Dodgers are painfully aware of the defensive shortcomings of Ramirez. Manager Don Mattingly has taken to using a defensive replacement for him late in games the Dodgers lead.

But there's no hiding his defense early, and that's a problem that's not going away.

Should the Dodgers advance to the postseason, Hernandez is a rotation problem that likely will go away, but they'll have to determine if they want him in the bullpen. He didn't do anything to help his cause Tuesday.

In the third inning he gave a lead-off walk to Yasmani Grandal and then a two-run homer to Jedd Gyorko. The Dodgers were down 5-0 and not coming back.

The only damage they managed against Cashner (3-7) came in the sixth when Dee Gordon bunted his way on and Adrian Gonzalez crushed a two-run homer.

Cashner, who was 0-1 lifetime against the Dodgers despite a 1.37 ERA in 16 games (five starts), ended up going seven innings. He allowed the two runs on nine hits and a walk, striking out two.

The Dodgers scored once more in the ninth off right-hander Kevin Quackenbush. Juan Uribe beat out an infield hit and Andre Ethier was hit by a pitch before pinch-hitter Justin Turner singled in the run. Quackenbush struck out Gordon and got Ramirez to fly out to center to end it.

Matt Kemp pushed his hitting streak to 15 games with a sixth-inning double, but ran into a bouncer hit by Carl Crawford for an automatic out.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Dodgers.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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