On the discomforts of home
LOS ANGELES -- Joe Blanton was just wrapping up his postgame interview Tuesday night when somebody mentioned the boos that seemed, at times, directed at him and, at times, directed at his teammates Tuesday night.
"I've pitched in Philly," Blanton said. "That's nothing."
The Dodgers had a sellout crowd Tuesday night on Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead night and, at times, the gathering of 56,000 people let their team have it during a lackluster 4-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Elements of the crowd's scorn seemed a bit rash -- for example, the isolated boos for Matt Kemp during his first appreciable slump in two years -- but some of it is more than understandable.
There's certainly a pattern here. The Dodgers look like a different team on the road than they do at home. Away from Dodger Stadium, they have looked powerful and aggressive, but when they get back to Chavez Ravine their focus seems to meander. The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 20 games on the road and lost 11 of their last 16 at home.
If they can't beat Matt Cain and the Giants on Wednesday, they'll be looking at a 2 1/2-game hole in the NL West, so this might be a good time to wake up and realize they're supposed to have an edge here.
Maybe the cavernous outfield here is getting in their heads. Kemp hit a deep sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the sixth inning that drove Hunter Pence to the edge of the warning track in right field. At that point, the Dodgers probably could have blamed their stadium instead of their stadium blaming them.
"That ball's way back at a lot of major-league stadiums. This isn't one of them," managerDon Mattingly said.
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