Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ryu bests Harvey as Dodgers' streak reaches 7

Three leading candidates for NL Rookie of the Year were in action at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, as Hyun-Jin Ryu battled Matt Harvey on the mound, and Yasiel Puig hit cleanup.

About the only reason to follow the Mets this season (save for a currently injured David Wright) has been Harvey, who's dominated pretty much everybody.

Except the Dodgers.

Harvey gave up four runs in six innings, Ryu pitched one-run ball through seven, Puig went 2-for-4, and the Dodgers won again, 4-2.  That's seven straight wins for the boys in blue, extending their unbelievable run to 39-8.  The Diamondbacks got another walk-off from Paul Goldschmidt, so the NL West remains at 7 1/2 games.

Much like the night before, it was all Mets in the early going, as a solo homer by Juan Lagares in the first gave them a quick 1-0 lead.  David Murphy followed with a single, but was erased on a double play by Marlon Byrd.

Speaking of double plays, it sure looked like the Dodgers were actually trying to end each inning by hitting into one, as they hit into one in innings two through four to keep the score at 1-0.

It's becoming increasingly obvious that if teams want to beat the Dodgers, they have to keep the scoring up throughout the game, because the Dodgers figure things out eventually.  That was exactly the case here, as they got to Harvey to take the lead in the fifth.

A.J. Ellis started it all by taking a walk with one down.  Juan Uribe singled next to put runners on the corners.  Nick Punto, who once again got the start at short in place of Hanley Ramirez, lined a two-run double down the left field line, and just like that it was 2-1.

Ryu was as locked in as can be at this point, and the Dodgers backed him up even more with a couple more runs in the sixth.  Mark Ellis led off with a single, and Puig got another one an out later.  Skip Schumaker's groundout put both runners in scoring position with two outs, and once again A.J. Ellis came through with a two-run single for the 4-1 lead.

After Ryu was done for the night following the seventh, Ronald Belisario pitched the eighth.  He has not given up a run in five August appearances at this point, and then made it six by only allowing a single to Mike Baxter.

It was then Kenley Jansen time in the ninth, and for a change, he actually looked a little shaky.  Perhaps it was more fatigue, as he had to get four outs the night before for the save, so when Josh Satin walked, went to second on fielder's indifference, then scored on John Buck's RBI single, there was a little reason to worry.  Ike Davis grounded out to end the game, and that worry was tossed out the window.  That's save #19.

I guess if you're a Mets' fan, about the only reason you have to be excited for baseball these days is when Harvey takes the mound.  So when he's not his usual terrific self, you can't help but wonder if there's any hope on this team.  He only had five swings and misses on the night, so that shows he just didn't have his best stuff.  And to think he actually struck out for the first two hitters he faced.  Go figure.

As for Ryu, who's gone from quietly being a ROY candidate to forcing his way into the conversation.  He went seven innings for five hits, one run, one walk, and three strikeouts.  This start brings his numbers to 12-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.  He's easily one of the best third starters in the league, if not the best.  That's pretty awesome.

I'll be honest, I was a bit concerned coming into this series that there would be a natural letdown for the Dodgers after beating the Cardinals and Rays in six of seven this past week.  Not that I thought they'd dog it, but at some point you would think they'd hit a bit of a cold streak.  I know the Mets are pretty bad, but that's exactly what worried me.  Sure enough, despite falling behind in both games, the Dodgers haven't missed a beat.

What's even better?  Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke haven't even pitched this series, yet the Dodgers are about to go for another sweep.  It will be left up to Chris Capuano to get it on Wednesday night.  Reports show that HanRam is due back as well, so that will be fantastic if it's true.  I know Capuano will appreciate it.

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