Saturday, June 1, 2013

A blown save for League, but Dodgers win in 10

The Dodgers did everything they could to give back an early 5-0 lead.  They misplayed a couple grounders, left about 400 men on base, and couldn't record a big out late.

And despite Brandon League surrendering a game-tying two-run homer to Todd Helton in the ninth, the Dodgers scored two in the 10th to beat the Rockies, 7-5.  At this point when your team is seven games under .500, they'll take a win in any form.

With Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez on the DL, Don Mattingly had to run out an interesting lineup that included Mark Ellis leading off, Andre Ethier hitting second, and (get this) Ramon Hernandez hitting cleanup.  Wow!  And to think that it actually worked, go figure.

Anyway, the Dodgers struck early and often.  Luis Cruz was beaned in the knuckles leading off the third, but somehow remained in the game despite being in a lot of pain.  Juan Uribe smacked an RBI double to make it 1-0.  A sacrifice by Clayton Kershaw got Uribe to third, where Ellis's RBI single made it 2-0.

The Dodgers weren't done, a Ellis stole second and Ethier walked.  Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single, and the Dodgers had a 3-0 lead.

The fourth inning brought more of the same, as Kershaw reminded everyone that he has some pop when he needs it.  Scott Van Slyke was on third after leading off the inning with a double, and Uribe was intentionally walked with two outs to pitch to Kersahw.  Bad idea, as he lifted a long double to left center to score both, and it was 5-0.

If you thought the game was over with a big lead and Kershaw on the mound, then you'd be mistaken.  Games played in crazy Coors Field are never over, and the Dodgers aren't a good enough team yet to cruise to a win at this point.  So it was inevitable that the Rockies would make some sort of run.

And that they did, starting in the fourth.  Dexter Fowler singled with one out, and Troy Tulowitzki reached on an error by Ellis.  An RBI single by Michael Cuddyer made it 5-1, and when Uribe couldn't quite handle a grounder by Wilin Rosario to turn a double play, he had to settle for one as another run scored to make it 5-2.

The Dodgers would continue to hit, but continue to leave too many men on base as well, eight in total.  The Rockies chased Kershaw in the eighth when Fowler and Tulo each singled, but blew a chance to score a bunch more when Rosario grounded into a DP to only score one, and it was 5-3 heading into the ninth.

Now it became time for League to protect the lead, which is never a sure thing.  And guess what?  He couldn't do it.  With DJ LeMahieu on first with one out, Helton pinch-hit and fouled off a bunch of pitches.  Then he squared one up and demolished it into right for a two-run tater, tying the game.  At least League got the next two to send it to extras.

The Rockies then put in their closer, Rafael Betancourt.  He pulled his best League impersonation by giving up a couple.  Hernandez started it all with a leadoff single up the middle.  Carl Crawford ran for him and went to third on a single by Skip Schumaker.  Cruz lined a hard grounder off of Betancourt's foot to plate one, and an RBI single by Uribe made it 7-5.

There would be no more comebacks in this game, as Ronald Belisario got the Rockies in order for his first save.

That was certainly more drama than the Dodgers ever intended for, as anytime Kershaw is spotted five runs, you would think it would be smooth sailing.  But like I said before, nothing is automatic in Colorado, and the Dodgers did themselves no favors along the way.  Kershaw ended up tossing seven innings for eight hits, three runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.  He scuffled a little bit, but again had a great line.  It's a shame he was robbed of a win by League.

And while we're on the subject of League, with an ERA of 5.31 after 20 games, it's safe to say he's not getting it done in the ninth.  Mattingly refused to comment after the game on it, but Kenley Jansen has to start getting some shots at saves.  Jansen has a 3.04 ERA, and 37 K's in 26 2/3 innings.  League can't touch those stats, and with another late meltdown, he can't just be automatically given the ball in the ninth anymore.  It's time to shake it up.

Let's give credit to the five guys with two hits each: Hernandez, Scott Van Slyke, Schumaker, Uribe, and Kershaw.  There's very little thump in this lineup, so getting on and moving them over is the only way they'll get it done.  They did that early and late to get the win. With Ramirez already rehabbing and due back very soon, more help is on the way, which is great news.

The Dodgers will give the ball to their other Cy Young winner on Saturday, Zack Greinke.  He's been hit around his last couple of starts, so he'll look to get things going again.

No comments: