Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dodgers do everything they can to lose, but still win

The Dodgers were hardly a flawless team on Saturday night, grounding into double plays, committing silly errors in the outfield, and blowing a save in the ninth because of it.

But hey, they still won, and that's all that matters.

A.J. Ellis hit a walk-off single in the ninth to score Hanley Ramirez, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 win over the Phillies, their seventh victory in the last eight games.  It also puts the Dodgers five games in back of the Diamondbacks for the NL West lead, as the whole division is pretty bunched together.

Much like Thursday night's game, the Dodgers started red hot, then cooled off big time.  That's opposed to Friday's game, when the Phillies started hot, got hotter, and ended absolutely scorching hot.  Scoring 16 runs will do that for ya.

Chase Utley has been killing the Dodgers this series, and he lifted a solo shot out to right to make it 1-0 two batters into the game.  Hyun-Jin Ryu at least got the other red hot hitter, Delmon Young, to strikeout for the last out.

Yasiel Puig only had one hit, which for him is like two or three hits too low, and his single with one out started a rally.  Adrian Gonzalez took a walk, which gave Ramirez a chance to drive in runs.  Boy did he ever, as he absolutely unloaded on a long three-run bomb to dead center for the 3-1 lead.  I've seen a lot of homers at Dodger Stadium, but that's one of the farthest I can recall.

The down side is that the scoring stopped for the Dodgers after that, as he did almost everything possible to hand this game away.  The Phillies scored again in the third.  How, you ask?  That's right - a solo homer by Utley, his 11th of the season.  After missing a big chunk of last season, he looks young again, which is good news for Philly.

Despite the win, there were a couple of very frustrating moments for the Dodgers.  The first came in the fourth.  Ramirez doubled leading off, which led to two straight walks to Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke, who got the start in left for Andre Ethier.

Considering how well the Phillies have swung the bat this series, the Dodgers needed to score more runs.  Well, that didn't exactly happen here.  Ellis bounced one back to the mound for the 1-2-3 double play, and Juan Uribe grounded to short.  A completely blown opportunity there.

Ryu remained tough, though, as he got through the sixth and seventh without giving up anything else.  On the night, he gave up seven hits, two runs, three walks, and six strikeouts.  He should've gotten his seventh win, but was denied that thanks to some crappy defense.

Paco Rodriguez, Ronald Belisario, and J.P. Howell got through the eighth scoreless.  Actually, Belisario had nothing to do with it, because he was pathetic yet again.  Of the four hitters he faced, three of them reached on two singles and an intentional walk.  And yet again I'd like to point out how this guy should be nowhere near the mound in a close game like this.  He's terrible!

Kenley Jansen was given the ball in the ninth.  He got up 0-2 on leadoff hitter Michael Young, but Young hit a single to right that was misplayed by Puig, allowing him to go to second.  Utley's groundout got him to third.  Jimmy Rollins lifted a shallow fly ball to center which Young faked going home on.

Apparently Kemp didn't realize that, because he throw to home was so bad, Young practically walked home to tie the game at 3-3.  Kemp was bad all-around in this one, striking out three more times to go along with that horrific throw.  Definitely not the stuff of franchise players.  Give me a break.

Jansen was able to get out of the ninth tied, even though Dominic Brown tripled with two outs.  So yes, it's a blown save for Jansen, but it's of no fault of his own.  Puig and Kemp let him down big time.

Ramirez led off the bottom of the ninth with a sharp single to center off of Justin De Fratus.  Kemp, right on cue, struck out looking, barking at home plate umpire CB Bucknor.  Don't get me wrong - Bucknor did not have a good game, as his calls on the corners were very inconsistent and just downright strange for both Ryu and Cliff Lee the whole night.  But sorry, Matty, that was another poor at-bat by you.

Ethier worked a walk right after that, as he came in to start the inning for Van Slyke.  Ellis needed to redeem himself for that awful double play ball he grounded into earlier, and he did with a walk-off single to right, as Ramirez hustled around the tag at home.  It was a great end to an imperfect night.

Not to seem so negative, because the Dodgers will take any sort of win they can get, but this wasn't much fun to watch at times.  First there was Bucknor and his changing strike zone, then the offense going quiet for multiple innings again, then two atrocious errors in the outfield in the ninth.  Just some ugly stuff.

Then again, maybe it's a good thing that even with all of that, the Dodgers still won.  Right now they're 5-1 on the homestand, which is awesome.  If they can get Sunday's game, that's a very successful week in Dodger Stadium.  And that's even with the beatdown they suffered on Friday.

That win won't be easy on Sunday, as the Dodgers send Stephen Fife to the mound against Kyle Kendrick.  Fife has pitched well, but Kendrick has seven wins and a 3.46 ERA this season.  This game will finish up the homestand before taking Monday off and traveling to Colorado for three starting Tuesday.

No comments: