Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dodgers' rally caps a 23-8 August

Perhaps Chris Capuano was hearing footsteps, and knew he needed a big performance to remain the #5 starter.

He did just that, giving up one run in seven marvelous innings.  The offense got a couple of late runs, and the Dodgers rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Padres.  I don't think anybody wants to see August end as they went 23-8, good for a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL West.

Yes, it's been a month to remember.  Now it's time to make sure September and October are the same.  Acquiring Michael Young just minutes before playoff rosters became official will help them do just that.

As for this game, Andrew Cashner was throwing smoke and consistently made the big pitches when needed, as the Dodgers left 12 men on base.  He's quietly had a good season in another lost one for the Padres with a 3.45 ERA in 28 starts.

Through three innings, both teams managed to put runners on and proceed to do nothing with them.  In the fourth, the Padres were first to crack the scoreboard, and it came from an unlikely source.  Ronny Cedeno hit one out to right that just made it over the wall for the 1-0 lead.  It was only his second homer of the season.

That wasn't the only highlight of the inning.  After Rene Rivera doubled with two outs, Cashner (who had two hits) singled to Yasiel Puig in right.  Rather than holding Rivera at third for the leadoff hitter, he was sent home, only to be gunned out on a perfect one-hop throw from Puig.  A great throw, but a bad decision from the Padres.  Don't run on the guy!

The Dodgers continued to collect hits, as they got at least one in five of the first six innings, but came up with blank after blank.  That changed in the seventh, finally.  Jerry Hairston hit for Capuano and got an infield single.  Carl Crawford followed with a single, and the Dodgers were in business.

Puig made the big play in right earlier in the game, but had a tough night at the plate when he struck out, part of an 0-for-4 night.  No need to fret, as the reliable Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single up the middle, and it was 1-1.

With the score tied late, the game turned into a battle of the bullpens.  Brian Wilson came in and gave up a couple of singles, but induced a huge double play from Logan Forsythe to squash the rally.  Wilson ended up getting his first win as a Dodger by the end of the night.

Nick Vincent entered for the Padres, and Skip Schumaker doubled right away off of him.  Tim Federowicz laid down a great sacrifice bunt, and Schumaker went to third with one out.  Mark Ellis, another old reliable, collected the game winning RBI with a single to center, and it was 2-1.

The ninth inning was Kenley Jansen time, and as usual, he was awesome.  In fact, he struck out the side for his 23rd save in 25 chances.  Without a doubt, he's at the top of his game right now.

With September now here, any win is a big one, even against a lowly opponent like the Padres, who are 15 games under .500.  But, Cashner pitched very well, so it certainly wasn't an easy win.  Nonetheless, when the heat was on, the Dodgers responded with more big plays, which is what they've been doing since the end of June.  You could just feel the momentum going their way, as fans expect them to step up when needed at this point.  They didn't disappoint.

As I brought up before, it's very possible Capuano knew he was on borrowed time, and needed to make a good impression if he wants to keep starting.  In seven innings, he gave up one run on eight hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.  Edinson Volquez is lurking, though his stats are even worse, so it was great timing for Capuano to have his best start since shutting down the Cubs on August 3.

The Dodgers will start September by looking for a sweep of the Padres on Sunday afternoon.  Zack Greinke will look for his 14th win.

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