By JAY PARIS
Paul McCartney didn’t sing “Can’t Buy You Love” at Petco Park.
Doing so at his previous gig at Dodger Stadium would have been more appropriate.
The best team money could buy went down in flames on Tuesday night. The playoffs continue, but the high-end Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t part of it. Despite a record payroll which was north of $238 million, the guys with swag went south.
Clayton Kershaw again took the loss in Game 4 to eliminate the Dodgers and we can’t explain it either.
L.A.’s offense was dreadful in clutch situations, unable to drive in runs to put a scare into St. Louis
It ended the season with Yaseil Puig on first, only after being inserted as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning.
The bullpen bridge to the closer was wobbly and deadly. Despite the millions Magic and his buddies showered on the stars, they forgot about the stairs. The one taking the ball from the starter to the middle relief to the back end ace.
The Dodgers got plenty from their starters and when your rotation includes Kershaw and Zack Greinke, that’s no surprise. Kenley Jansen was good enough to notch 44 saves.
But the seventh and eighth innings, the one-time domain of Brian Wilson, Brandon League and Chris Perez, was a disaster. The Cards proved it on a nearly nightly basis. With those three aging relievers faltering, the elite Dodgers went the budget oute. To pitchers cashing in second chances and others not-yet-ready for their first. They trotted in with predictable results.
It figures to be a compelling offseason for the Dodgers, a team where “World Series or Bust” was the mantra from spring training’s first stretch.
Someone will take the fall in L.A. and the odds of manager Don Mattingly surviving again are anyone’s guess.
The Dodgers didn’t get much for their return this year. They won the NL West, but the bar was set so much higher that it seems inconsequential.
Plus the Dodgers alienated their faithful through a nasty TV squabble that left most of the L.A. area minus watching their favorite team and listening to their iconic announcer.
Now there’s no chatter of it being time for Dodger baseball, and that goes for Vin Scully, too.
Instead it’s time to find someone to blame.