Loney has a take on what went wrong

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - Dylan Her­nan­dez

On the day the Dodgers would be of­fi­cially elim­i­nated from play­off con­tention, James Loney re­flected on what went wrong this sea­son.

“At times,” he said, “teams played harder than us.”

Asked­whether the Dodgers’ post­sea­son teams of the last two sea­sons had more of an edge, Loney replied, “Yeah, I think just as a whole.”

The Dodgers had their long-awaited elim­i­na­tion con­firmed be­fore the com­ple­tion of their 6-0 de­feat to the San Diego Padres on Tues­day at Dodger Sta­dium.

With the first-place San Fran­cisco Giants beat­ing the Chicago Cubs, 1-0, at least one of the three teams ahead of the Dodgers in the Na­tional League West was as­sured of con­clud­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son with 86 wins. Be­fore fall­ing to the Padres, the most games the Dodgers

could have won was 85.

The Dodgers were elim­i­nated from the wild-card race Sun­day.

Loney de­nied that the Dodgers had grown com­pla­cent as of re­sult of reach­ing the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries in each of the last two sea­sons.

“I think we want to win,” he said. “We want to fin­ish it. We want to win the World Se­ries. But the other teams are try­ing to do that, too.”

And be­cause those other teams were chas­ing them, they might have been hun­grier.

So how did the Dodgers’ pe­ri­odic less-than-full ef­fort man­i­fest it­self on the field?

“You’ve got to run hard ev­ery time,” Loney said. So Loney didn’t see that? “Not all the time,” he said. But Loney added that the oc­ca­sional letdown was a symp­tom of frus­tra­tion, not of a lack of de­sire to win.

“There’s tal­ent, too,” he said. “The other teams have good tal­ent.”

Loney said the Dodgers could learn from this ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily that if you have good play­ers you’re go­ing to win,” he said. “You have to play as a team. Guys, hope­fully, they see what we’ve gone through this year and peo­ple don’t want to be in this po­si­tion next year.”

Casey Blake was less cer­tain about why the Dodgers fell short.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “In or­der to be a cham­pi­onship team, ob­vi­ously you’ve got to be play­ing well, but you’ve got to have a lot of things go your way. It seems like we didn’t have ei­ther of those hap­pen for us.”

Blake lamented the num­ber of in­juries the Dodgers suf­fered, point­ing to the pro­longed ab­sences of Manny Ramirez, Rafael Fur­cal, An­dre Ethier and Vi­cente Padilla.

“I was out five games and that re­ally killed us,” dead­panned Blake, who is hit­ting .248.

Per­haps fit­tingly, the Dodgers were shut out Tues­day for a ma­jor league-lead­ing 17th time.

Padres starter Clay­ton Richard pitched his first ca­reer shutout, as the Dodgers left seven men on base and were 0 for 5 with men in scor­ing po­si­tion.

Chad Billings­ley (11-11) gave up five runs and six hits in five in­nings. He walked three and hit a bat­ter.

Short hops

Be­cause this is his fi­nal sea­son, Dodgers Man­ager Joe Torre will slightly al­ter his an­nual tra­di­tion of let­ting a player man­age the last game of the reg­u­lar sea­son. Torre will be in charge in the sea­son fi­nale against Ari­zona on Oct. 3, but said he would let play­ers man­age the two games be­fore that. Rus­sell Martin will man­age Oct. 1. … Lo­gan White and De Jon Wat­son, Dodgers as­sis­tant gen­eral man­agers, are no longer be­ing con­sid­ered for Ari­zona’s gen­eral man­ager po­si­tion. White and Wat­son in­ter­viewed for the job last week.

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