Dodgers make numerous mistakes in Game 5 defeat
Updated 1:01 a.m. ET, Thurs., Oct. 16, 2008
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers threw away their season — and booted it away, too.
Rafael Furcal made three errors in one inning, Chad Billingsley failed to come up with a big outing and most of the Dodgers didn’t hit.
With a 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, Los Angeles was eliminated from the NL championship series in five games.
“It’s tough,” Furcal said. “I don’t want to make errors.”
In their first season under manager Joe Torre, the Dodgers swept the Chicago Cubs in the first round but came up short in their quest to return to the World Series for the first time since winning the title in 1988.
“It got a little ugly in the middle with the defense,” Torre said, “but they never stopped plugging away.”
Billingsley put the Dodgers behind 3-0 on Jimmy Rollins’ leadoff homer in the first and two-out RBI singles by Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell in the third. The 24-year-old right-hander also struggled in losing Game 2 in Philadelphia.
“It was a must-win game, and we didn’t come out and play as a team,” Billingsley said. “They hit a couple balls I left up on the plate. I just want to forget the last two starts.”
He may, but Dodgers’ fans won’t.
And they’ll talk all winter about Furcal’s fumbling fifth, which made it 5-0 against Greg Maddux.
Furcal’s double error was the highlight — rather lowlight — of the Dodgers’ misfortunes. He misplayed Pat Burrell’s grounder in the hole, then kicked it before throwing the ball way over catcher Russell Martin as Maddux failed to back up the play.
“It was an uncharacteristic moment for him,” Martin said.
Maddux walked Shane Victorino intentionally and struck out Pedro Feliz. But another run came home when Furcal handled Carlos Ruiz’s routine grounder cleanly and bounced a low throw to first base that went off James Loney’s glove. Loney’s throw home to Martin bounced off the back wall.
“It’s very frustrating the last game of the series at home to play like that,” Furcal said. “It’s very disappointing to me.”
Dodgers center fielder Willie Davis is the only other player in major league history to make three errors in one inning of a postseason game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Davis did it in the fifth inning of Game 2 in the 1966 World Series against Baltimore.
After the inning, Furcal sat by himself at one end of the Dodgers’ bench, looking down at his shoes. In all, he finished the league championship series with four errors.
During the regular season, Los Angeles never overcame a deficit of more than four runs, and it didn’t happen this time, either.
Sure, Manny Ramirez hit his fourth homer of the postseason with two outs in the sixth that had 56,800 fans cheering and waving their white towels. But all it did was prevent the Dodgers from being shut out.
Ramirez was the most reliable player Los Angeles had in October, finishing with 10 RBIs and 74 in his postseason career, trailing only Bernie Williams’ total of 80. His seven RBIs against the Phillies were one off the franchise series record for a postseason series, set by Dusty Baker in 1977, also against Philadelphia.
Ramirez is eligible to become a free agent. The Dodgers aren’t sure whether he’ll be back.
“It was a great experience,” he said, then added jokingly, “I want to see who is the highest bidder. The gasoline (price) is up, so I’m up.”
Martin took a called third strike to end the sixth, and he yelled at home plate umpire Mike Winters until first-base coach Mariano Duncan and Torre intervened. Martin angrily strode back to the dugout and slammed his bat and helmet down the stairs.
“It’s a lot of days of hard work, and nothing left at the end,” Martin said.
It was that type of season.