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Dodgers Add to Frustration : Baseball: Reed, Offerman fined by Lasorda for Saturday's confrontation, then Hershiser loses to Cubs, 10-4.

August 02, 1993|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHICAGO — Orel Hershiser was already dressed when reporters arrived at his locker Sunday after the Dodgers' 10-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"I just ate a piece of pizza, and when I tossed the crust, I actually hit the trash can," he said after giving up seven runs, including two home runs, in three innings at Wrigley Field. "That's about as good as my day was."

Hershiser's rocky outing was merely the latest frustration for the Dodgers, who were unsettled Saturday by a heated confrontation in the dugout between second baseman Jody Reed and shortstop Jose Offerman.

Manager Tom Lasorda dealt with that argument quickly by fining Reed and Offerman an undisclosed amount.

But even with tempers in check Sunday, there was no stopping the Dodgers from slipping 16 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants, with 57 games remaining. It is the most they have trailed the leaders this season.

"We need a miracle, we need a couple of touchdowns to get back in the race," said Lenny Harris, who hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, his first homer of the season.

What the team needs is consistency, the same thing Hershiser was searching for Sunday. In Hershiser's last start, a 15-1 complete game victory over the Giants, he threw only 95 pitches and faced 31 batters. He faced 17 batters in three innings Sunday.

"I don't know what to say," Lasorda said. "I don't think he has ever been through this (below .500 season) before in his career. I don't know what the reason is."

Some of Hershiser's problems are a result of the team's inconsistent offense. In four of seven starts before he faced the Giants, Hershiser had given up eight runs, but the Dodgers scored only three. In seven of his nine losses before Sunday, the Dodgers had scored three runs or less.

It took a half-hour to play the first inning, and Hershiser was on the mound for most of it. With the wind blowing out, the Cubs hit two doubles to the wall, a triple and a single and stole a base.

Hershiser helped them by bouncing a pitch in the dirt and hitting Steve Buechele in the elbow. By the time Cub starter Jose Guzman (10-7) sent a broken bat, one-hopper back to Hershiser to end the inning, the Cubs led, 5-0.

"When Orel pitched great in San Francisco, I didn't say this is the Orel Hershiser of 1988 and I am not going to worry when he has an outing like today," Executive Vice President Fred Claire said. "They pulled some balls out of the ivy and and we didn't and that can make a difference in the game. . . ."

Said Hershiser: "I wasn't completely disappointed with the way I pitched as I was that I was in Wrigley (with the wind blowing out)."

Sammy Sosa of the Cubs also made a big difference, cutting two Dodger rallies short with great catches in center field. Sosa and Ryne Sandberg hit solo home runs.

By the time Harris hit his home run in the seventh, the Dodgers trailed, 10-3.

"Mitch Webster said to me, 'If you hit a home run, I'm going to take you to Chuck E Cheese,' " Harris said. "So I guess (Mike) Sharperson and Webster are taking me there for my party."

Although the Dodgers won on Saturday, there was no party atmosphere on the bench after the incident between Offerman and Reed.

Adding to the frustration of a long season is frustration with Offerman, who, players say privately, is playing better but continues to miss signs and not keep his head in the game.

Saturday's incident was sparked in the third inning when Offerman cut off a throw from Webster in left field instead of letting it go through to Reed at second base. Tempers flared on the field. Then in the dugout after the inning, the confrontation escalated until several players had to jump between Offerman and Reed.

"I told my players after the game that I did not want this to happen, then Jody and Jose came into my office to straighten it out," Lasorda said Sunday. "It is nothing unusual. These type of things have happened before in the game and will happen again."

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