There may come a time, perhaps very late in the season, when the Dodgers toast a division championship and reminisce about overcoming the scary heart episode that sidelined Kenley Jansen.
That time seems far, far away at the moment.
For the third consecutive game, the Dodgers’ bullpen lost the game in the opponents’ final at-bat. The Dodgers lost the opportunity to move into a first-place tie in the National League West.
Scott Alexander, the closer of the moment, gave up as many hits in two-thirds of an inning as Clayton Kershaw did in the first eight innings.
Never in his four-year major league career had Alexander given up four runs — in a game, let alone an inning.
Alexander was booed off the mound. He was replaced by Pedro Baez, who was booed onto the mound.
And, certainly, a front office that declined to pay the price for a proven reliever at the trade deadline deserves some boos too, for the season appears at risk.
The Dodgers suffered a crushing 5-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, imploding despite the valiant efforts of Kershaw, who worked a season-high eight innings and handed a lead to the bullpen to protect for one inning.
With Jansen still recovering from an episode of atrial fibrillation, and after a lost series in Denver in which the Dodgers’ relievers lost three of four games and blew a lead in the other, Alexander got the call for the ninth.
He got the call for the ninth in Denver last weekend too, but he was removed in the middle of the inning for matchup purposes, even though he and rookie Caleb Ferguson are the Dodgers’ only reliable relievers at the moment.
Ferguson warmed behind Kershaw in the eighth inning. Alexander got the call for the ninth, with no one warming behind him.
He gave up consecutive singles with one out, bringing Evan Longoria to the plate with the tying run at second base and the potential winning run at first.
Longoria grounded into a force play. One out was all that stood between the Dodgers and victory.
Alexander never got that out. He hit Austin Slater, loading the bases. He gave up the lead on a two-run single to pinch-hitter Nick Hundley. He gave up another run on a single by Gorkys Hernandez, and a fourth run when first baseman Max Muncy committed an error.
Justin Turner homered for the Dodgers. Kershaw drove in the other run, on a bloop double.
Kershaw also delivered his longest outing of the year, stopping the Giants on one run and four hits over eight innings, and 110 pitches.
He struck out nine, including the first two batters in the eighth inning. The next batter, Hunter Pence, fought Kershaw for eight pitches.