Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett drops his head after walking Washington Nationals'… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
At some point you hope the Dodgers will look at the calendar, see it’s the middle of May and realize that they can no longer tolerate continued non-production from Luis Cruz. That they cannot allow catcher Ramon Hernandez to take up a spot on the roster. That healthy pitchers return and fill-ins head out.
But if Josh Beckett continues to struggle, the options are not so clear.
Beckett has started eight games this season and is still in search of his first victory. He failed again on a warm Monday night, lasting only three innings in the Dodgers’ 6-2 loss to the Nationals.
He is now 0-5 on the season with a 5.19 ERA. He’s earning $17 million this season, and again next season. This is no non-roster invitee gamble they can simply bail on. They have little choice but to hope he can turn things around.
It’s not that he’s getting shelled, he’s simply not sharp. He is maddeningly inconsistent. Monday he allowed three hits, walked two and struck out five. But it took him 68 pitches to get through the three innings.
When the Nationals scored three times in the third, the rally began with a leadoff walk to pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. He then struck out the next batter on three pitches. An error and a walk loaded the bases for Ryan Zimmerman, who promptly doubled in two.
A groundout scored a third run, and with the way Zimmermann was pitching, it was impossible not to think the game was over — in the third inning.
The biggest moment of the game did not come with some unexpected rally, but when Washington’s budding superstar Bryce Harper ran hard into the right-field wall trying to chase a triple from A.J. Ellis.
Seemingly stunned, Harper collapsed in a heap on the warning track. He remained motionless awhile, and after the arrival of the trainer, ultimately stood up and bent over, leaning on his knees. Blood trickled down each side of his neck, apparently from a cut under his chin as he ran into the screen protecting the right-field scoreboard.
Harper walked off the field, without apparent serious injury.
Ellis ended up scoring on a Skip Schumaker groundout.
Meanwhile, Zimmermann went about his business, throwing strikes and in complete command. He pushed his record to 7-1 with the victory.
The Dodgers pushed a second run across against Zimmermann in the eighth, when Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.
Zimmermann went 7 2/3 innings, allowing the two runs on nine hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five.