Matt Kemp was ready to leave. So were his teammates, who quickly dressed and quietly made their way out of the clubhouse to board the team bus.
“I’m ready to go home,” Kemp said. “See my fans.”
The Dodgers’ six-game trip to open the season almost felt like an extension of spring training, as Manager Joe Torre described it as a fact-finding mission and his players made the kind of mistakes that betrayed their reputations.
What was dismissed at the start of the two-city trip as early-season rust turned into frustration by the end of the weeklong journey, which ended with a 6-5 defeat to the Florida Marlins on Sunday at a mostly empty Sun Life Stadium.
The loss was the fourth of the trip for the Dodgers, who have their home opener Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Pretty bad,” Kemp said.
The Dodgers hit .180 with men in scoring position in their four losses. The fourth-best fielding team in the National League last season, they committed eight errors in the six games.
(Even the press box was infected with incompetence, as The Times reported in its Sunday print edition that Andre Ethier had hit a two-run home run the previous night. The hit was a two-run single.)
“Tough breaks and big mistakes,” Kemp said. “We made some big mistakes in key situations, not driving in runs at the right time, making errors, things we can’t be doing in tight games.”
The Dodgers’ error Sunday was charged to Kemp, who dropped a fly ball in the sixth inning that ultimately resulted in a run for the Marlins. Kemp, who won a Gold Glove last season, took responsibility for the run that cut the Dodgers’ lead to 5-4 and set up the Marlins’ two-run comeback the next inning.
“If it hits the glove, you have to catch it,” Kemp said. “It was a bad time to make an error.”
But with the Dodgers averaging six runs per game and figuring they can improve defensively, hitting and fielding weren’t at the top of the list of their concerns.
Two more pressing questions existed.
First, can they win on the road?
Their April schedule is such that of their 17 remaining games this month, nine are on the road.
Second, and more important, can they pitch?
“The thing we knew that we had to find out about was our pitching,” Torre said. “We’re going to go as far as our pitching will allow us to go.”
The Dodgers have failed to get significant length from their starters, so much so that the six innings thrown by No. 5 starter Charlie Haeger on Sunday seemed like a herculean effort compared with the outings of nearly every other member of the rotation.
Aside from Haeger and Hiroki Kuroda, who held the Marlins to one unearned run over eight innings in a victory on Friday, no pitcher has completed six innings.