The power went out in the bottom of the 12th inning Saturday night at Dodgers Stadium, with Matt Kemp on second base and Justin Turner at the plate. For the second time this season an outage was attributed to “a disruption in the city’s power feed to the facility,” which is the same thing as saying that the power went out because the power went out. Never mind, it looked very cool, especially in those first few moments before the emergency generators kicked on and restored the scoreboard and ribbon displays:
Had things gone as planned, the outage would’ve been witnessed by roughly no one. The Dodgers were up two runs in the eighth inning, with starter Clayton Kershaw still on the mound. That’s a powerful advantage for the home team, but a single and an error by Manny Machado put Freddy Galvis at third with one out, and an Eric Hosmer dribbler to second base got Galvis across to shrink the lead to one run.
The lead was still a run in the top of the ninth, with Kenley Jansen on the mound. This, too, should be an advantageous position for the home team, but Jansen hasn’t been himself lately. He gave up two runs and took a loss on Monday, then gave up another two runs and took a loss on Wednesday, in his first two appearances since August 7. And it was more of the same Saturday: Jansen’s 10th pitch of the inning was rudely sent into the stands by Austin Hedges for the game-tying, save-blowing dinger that would eventually send the game to extras. Jansen now has five losses and four blown saves on the season—he had three losses in the previous three years combined, and he had just one blown save all of last season.
The power outage added a touch of delightful weirdness to a game that had already gone unexpectedly sideways for the Dodgers, but the climactic moment of awkwardness came moments after the power was restored. Justin Turner hacked at the very first pitch thrown after the 19-minute outage delay, and skied a harmless-looking shallow fly to right field:
Pay a little less attention to the perfect placement of Turner’s bloop, and a little more attention to where Matt Kemp is when the three Padres fielders look back at the diamond, having abandoned their pursuit of the ball. He’s still rounding third! There was a play to be made! Padres manager Andy Green tried to cut his guys some slack by saying the ball squirted away on a weird line when it hit the field—it does seem to land exactly on the line where the grass hits the dirt—and that because his guys couldn’t field it cleanly, they wouldn’t have had a shot at Kemp either way. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts tells a different story:
“I think they just felt Matt was further along than he was,” said Roberts. “Look at the video, Matt was near second base. If they make a play on it, probably a second-and-third situation. Fortunately for us, they didn’t finish the play.”
Oof. The Dodgers will take a win any way they can get it, these days. They’re stuck in third place in the NL West, and are still 2.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race, despite having the best run differential in the National League. Kershaw described Saturday’s result as “super weird,” but it’s been that kind of a season for the Dodgers. It’s nice to see the weirdness tilt in their favor, for a change.