Maybe newly acquired Bill Madlock can do something about it, but make no mistake, the Dodgers are in a slump.
Shane Rawley, a decent left-hander but hardly one of the greats, held the Dodgers hitless for 7 innings Saturday night at Dodger Stadium and pitched the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-0 victory, their third win in a row over the Dodgers.
Rawley (11-6) lost his no-hitter when Bob Bailor bounced a single up the middle off shortstop Tom Foley's glove in the eighth inning. Rawley then gave up an ensuing infield hit to the pinch-hitting Madlock, making his Dodger debut, and in the ninth inning gave up a clean single to Candy Maldonado.
It was the sixth consecutive victory for Rawley, a left-hander who hasn't lost since June 27 and who shut out the Dodgers on four hits at Philadelphia on Aug. 22. In this one, he had the Dodgers at his mercy throughout. He struck out six batters, walked only two and allowed just a couple of fair balls to be hit hard against him all night.
Rawley also scored twice as the Phillies used the home-run ball and the porous Dodger defense to stop Fernando Valenzuela's nine-game winning streak.
Valenzuela (16-9) pitched seven innings, giving up a three-run home run to Juan Samuel in the third inning and a solo home run to Rick Schu in the fifth.
The Dodgers are fortunate that neither San Diego nor Cincinnati has been able to mount a charge. With both losing again, the Dodgers remain seven games in front in the West and have an eight-game bulge in the loss column on both the Padres and Reds.
However, the Dodgers, since completing a home stand on Aug. 15 with their seventh victory in a row, have reverted to early-season form. They are making errors, most of their hitting has been confined to home runs with nobody on base, they are stranding a lot of runners on base and they are wasting good pitching.
A 15-run outburst in Philadelphia and two wins over the slumping New York Mets served as a camouflage. From the time the Dodgers opened an 11-game trip at San Francisco, they have not played well. They have now won only six of their last 14 games.
In the three games with the Phillies, the Dodgers have scored four runs on four home runs. Their pitchers have given up 13 runs, but an error beat them Thursday night and three of the runs Saturday night were unearned.
Rawley had more trouble with official scorer Wayne Monroe than he did with the Dodger hitters. He felt that Monroe made a bad call when he ruled Bailor's bouncer a hit. Had it been called an error, he believed, he might have gone on to pitch a no-hitter.
"If I had given up a hit before that play, there would be no argument from me," he said. "In my mind, if Foley holds onto the ball, it's an out."
Foley agreed. "I could have made the play if I had hung onto the ball," he said. "I would not have been upset if I had been given an error."
Monroe said he remained so certain that it was a hit that he didn't need to look at the replay.
Bailor's ball took a big bounce after it passed the pitcher's mound. Foley, who was playing toward third, came over fast, and, as he crossed over in front of second base, the ball caromed off his glove. In that situation, what determines if it is a hit or an error is whether it would have taken an outstanding play to get the out. The way the ball bounced, it indeed would have been a great play had Foley been able to make it.
It is not surprising that Rawley was disappointed. He seemed to have the Dodgers at his mercy. He permitted only two runners as far as second base and only one runner, Bailor, as far as third base. A fine running catch by center fielder Von Hayes in left-center took a hit away from Bailor in the fifth inning. And in the seventh, Mike Marshall laced a drive down the right-field line that was foul by a foot or so. But there wasn't much more hard hitting than that by the Dodgers.
Valenzuela appeared ready to match Rawley, until there were two out and nobody on in the third with Rawley at bat. Rawley hit what looked like a routine grounder to third, but Bailor fumbled it. Jeff Stone doubled into right-center, and Samuel hit a towering drive to left that carried into the seats near the Dodger bullpen for his 17th home run of the season. All three runs were unearned.
A walk to Rawley in the seventh set up the final run given up by Valenzuela, Rawley eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly by Samuel. And before the game was over, Steve Sax threw the ball away for an error.
Bring on Madlock.