LOS ANGELES — Josh Beckett’s struggles since since his disabled list stint continued on Sunday as the Dodgers’ right-hander still couldn’t seem to make the pitches he needed to in a 7-3 loss to the Cubs.
The Dodgers dropped the series and it’s the bullpen and the back of the rotation that seem to be where the team is hurting the most at the moment.
"Since he’s been off of the DL, he’s just been ok," said manager Don Mattingly. "He needed a lot of pitches to get through the innings and he just didn’t settle down."
Beckett fell to 6-6 and is 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA in his last three starts since he went on the DL with left hip impingement syndrome. It was a curious outing for Beckett as he struck out the side in the first inning yet allowed an earned run and two doubles and at one point had struck out four straight.
"It didn’t last through the next inning though," he said. "You’ve got to make better pitches, big ones. It doesn’t matter that those guys are in last place you give them pitches and they’ll get hits."
Sunday, he gave up three earned runs on six hits using 94 pitches. Even the Cubs starting pitcher, right-hander Edwin Jackson went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles against the laboring Beckett. The hip, he insists, is not the issue.
"Physically, I’m able to pitch," Beckett said. "I felt better today but the results were still just as sh*tty."
Matt Kemp belted a solo home run in the sixth, his second in as many games and his fifth of the current home stand, cutting the lead to just 3-2 but it unraveled for the Dodgers in the top of the eighth. Brandon League walked the bases load to start the inning and the Cub strung together some runs before finally getting a 2-out RBI single from pinch-hitter Starlin Castro.
League was then removed and Chris Perez walked the first batter he faced for a total of four free passes issued in the inning.
"All of the sudden he got himself in a pretty good jam there and really, he’s a ground ball from getting out of it," Mattingly said. "Obviously, the walks hurt you there. But we had a long game last night and he pitches. Not to use that as an excuse but that’s the reality is that guys have to learn to bounce back quick in game like today."
Overall, it was a somewhat listless performance by a contending team against a one that is so far from contention it traded away all of its best players at the deadline. The San Francisco Giant blew out the Mets in New York picking up a half game in the Division race giving the Dodgers (47-63) only a 2.5 game lead in the NL West going into the Freeway Series against baseball’s second-best team — The Angels on FOX Sports West — starting Monday.
Mattingly felt like his team didn’t play with a lot of energy in the series. Whether or not fatigue was a factor, the team says it doesn’t really matter. They should never allow it to become an issue.
"If there is, we’ll get over it," said reliever J.P. Howell. "Whether we’re up or down 10 games, we want (the energy level) to be the same: high."