Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The big dogs are back, and the Dodgers are ready to clinch

What a night it was for the Dodgers on Tuesday.  Limping into the game having lost four straight and 9 of their previous 12, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez were back in the lineup.

The result?  An 8-1 lead after four, and many reasons to get excited again.

Simply put, everything went right for the Dodgers, who now have a magic number of two to clinch the NL West.  That number may as well be one, because if they defeat the Diamondbacks today or tomorrow, then it's all settled.

Everything went according to script, save for Yasiel Puig's 0-for-5 night.  In the first, Mark Ellis and Ramirez singled with one out.  Adrian Gonzalez popped up, but a wild pitch soon put two runners in scoring position.  Kemp then began his big night with a two-run double, and it was 2-0.

Another guy who's had an incredible season, and truly out of nowhere at that, is Juan Uribe.  That continued in this one with a monstrous two-run homer to left, and All-Star Patrick Corbin was reeling down 4-0.

Two more runs were added in the third.  Ramirez walked on a full count leading off, Gonzalez launched a two-run shot to right, and it was 6-0.  After Kemp again doubled, this time an absolute bomb to dead center that somehow stayed in the yard, that was it for Corbin's night.  Matt Langwell got out of the jam after that.

The lead was ballooned even more in the fourth, and it all started on a walk to Zack Greinke.  He then went to second on Puig's groundout, and Ellis's RBI single to center made it 7-0.  Ramirez again took a walk, Gonzo popped up, and Kemp plated another on an RBI single to make it 8-0 as Ramirez was tagged out going to third.

That was more than enough for Greinke, who only gave up an RBI fielder's choice to Martin Prado and a solo homer to Aaron Hill.  He ended up going six innings for six hits, two runs, one walk, and five strikeouts, and his record is now at 15-3 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.  And to think, he's only a #2 starter!  Wow.

Both teams traded runs in the eighth.  Michael Young hit an RBI triple to score Ramirez and make it 9-2.  The DBacks got the last run of the night on an RBI groundout by Willie Bloomquist.

Kenley Jansen came on and closed out the non-save situation, walking a couple, but getting Adam Eaton to ground into the game ending double play.

When the Braves, Pirates, Cardinals, and Reds (and possibly the Nationals with the way they're playing) looked at the box score of this game and saw Kemp go 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, they have to at least be somewhat worried.  It was his first start in nearly two months, yet swung the bat like it was 2011 all over again.

Then if they were to look and see Ramirez taking three walks and getting one hit, and Gonzalez and Uribe with two-run homers, you're probably wondering where the weak spot in the order is.  Heck, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that Puig went hitless, as it shows how deep the Dodgers are when they have their full lineup.

No matter how you look at things, this was a great night.  And it can only get better with a big win to take back the NL West on Wednesday.  It won't be Clayton Kershaw getting the call, but rather Stephen Fife.  Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants to the DBacks if they still lose?  I'd love it!

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