It took over two months for it happen, but it finally did. And Jake Peavy made sure of it.
Peavy pitched a complete game, the Dodgers' bullpen was uncharacteristically bad, and the Red Sox won easily on Sunday Night Baseball, 8-1. And with that, the Dodgers broke their 18-series unbeaten streak by losing both weekend games. Hey, it had to happen sometime.
At least the Diamondbacks lost as well, so the lead in the NL West remains 9 1/2 games.
Coming into this possible World Series preview, the Dodgers knew they'd have somewhat of an uphill climb for a couple of reasons. One, they had to go without Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, who've been practically untouchable of late. Two, even with them, the Red Sox are really good.
Chris Capuano got the call in this one, and like Hyun-Jin Ryu on Saturday, ran into some trouble right away. Shane Victorino, who apparently can hit again now that he's no longer a Dodger, doubled with one away. Dustin Pedroia legged out an infield "single," though replays showed it was clearly a bad call. Mike Napoli smacked an RBI ground rule double to center, and it was 1-0.
On Saturday, Ryu gave up four runs to effectively end the game in the first, and Capuano found himself in a similar mess when he intentionally walked Jonny Gomes to load the bases. However, Capuano made a big pitch when he needed to, and Will Middlebrooks grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Red Sox would tack on single runs in the third and fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury did it the small ball way in the third, as he hit an infield single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a sac-fly to center by Pedroia. The next inning, a two-out double by Xander Bogaerts scored Middlebrooks, and it was 3-0.
The only offense the Dodgers could muster on the night was a solo bomb from Adrian Gonzalez with one out in the fourth. He seriously creamed it at an estimated 433 feet.
Capuano was done after five, and then the Red Sox home run parade started. First it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a two-out homer in the sixth off of Chris Withrow to make it 5-1. Then Withrow gave up a solo shot to Victorino the next inning, and it was 6-1.
If you thought Gonzalez's homer was long earlier, then Napoli actually topped it with a 437-foot, two-run tater to left off of the awful Brandon League in the ninth. I don't know which was worse - watching League suck up the joint again, or the $22.5 million that the Dodgers are completely wasting on him. I guess both things go hand in hand. Boy is he pathetic.
Fittingly, Peavy struck out his last batter to get the complete game, as Hanley Ramirez was the victim.
I think we should all thank Ricky Nolasco for his awesome performance on Friday, because without that, there's a great chance the Dodgers would have gotten swept. All in all, they only managed five runs in three games, as their offense just never got going.
Don Mattingly tried to spark the bats by putting Yasiel Puig in the five-hole, putting Nick Punto behind Carl Crawford at the top, and benching Andre Ethier because of his poor stats against Peavy. It didn't matter. They had three hits and one walk the whole night.
This wasn't a bad performance by Capuano, but not a very good one either. He lasted five innings for six hits, three runs, one walk, and three strikeouts. Again, not bad, but could've been better. But then again, that's about what to expect from him, as he truly is a #5 starter.
If these two teams meet again, which obviously would only happen in the World Series, then the Dodgers have to feel much better about their chances. Not only will they get to use Kershaw and Greinke, but with Matt Kemp soon starting his rehab assignment, they'll get to add his power to the lineup. Games like these last three are a great reminder that as good as the Dodgers have been, having an instant home run threat in the lineup makes them so much more dangerous.
The Dodgers will now welcome the Cubs for three starting on Monday. The last time they met earlier in August, the Cubs did just about everything possible to beat themselves. Greinke will take the hill in the first game.