Thursday, May 22, 2014

The difference of winning and losing is a double clutch

Attention all Dodger fans: if you think you have it tough, try rooting for the Mets.

That became glaringly obvious after watching Wednesday night's game in Citi Field.  In the eighth inning and the Dodgers up 3-2, Hanley Ramirez grounded a hard one back to the mound with runners on the corners and one down.  It should've been an easy double play, but Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia had to double clutch with two men racing to cover second.  The result was Chone Figgins scoring from third, and the Dodgers eventually won 4-3.

So, when Kenley Jansen gave up a one-out triple to Juan Lagares in the ninth, the run he soon scored would've tied it.  But the Mets being the Mets, they blew it.

What a difference one play can make in winning or losing.  The good teams never have to worry about silly little things like who's covering second base on a double play ball.  That's really pretty pathetic how the Mets completely botched such an obvious DP.  It wasn't an error in the stats, but sometimes a mental error that doesn't appear in the box score is just as bad, if not worse.

The Dodgers will take wins in any way, shape, or form, so beating the Mets two straight on the road counts for something.

As for the Mets, they just continue to sink further and further into a hole.  Their offseason signing of Curtis Granderson has done nothing, David Wright looks like a singles hitter, Matt Harvey is out for the season, their closer Bobby Parnell is out for the season, and their cleanup hitter Chris Young is hitting .206.  There's no excitement or energy to this team.  They're just kind of... there.

And that's a reminder that as bad as things can get for LA, they at least have talent and hope of turning things around, as they showed last season.  The Mets?  They've got nothing.

Other thoughts from the game:

* It was great to see Hyun-Jin Ryu back from the DL, as he picked up the win with two runs in six innings, striking out nine.  The Dodgers' starting staff is now at full health, and assuming Clayton Kershaw is capable of pitching more than two innings, they should give the bullpen much more rest.

* Three solo home runs did the trick for the Dodgers, as Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez went deep.  They were outhit 13-5, but obviously made the most of what they did hit.  The Mets stranded nine.  Sad.

* Brian Wilson pitched the eighth, only giving up a little single.  That's three straight scoreless appearances for him.  You have to start somewhere, and perhaps he's slightly turning the corner.  His ERA has gone down from 10.22 to 8.22.  Don Mattingly looks determined to use him as the setup man no matter what, so at least he's getting people out for once.

* Overall, I just like the Dodgers so much more on the road than at home right now.  The records back it up (16-9 away, 9-13 home).  Granted, playing teams like the Mets help, but the Dodgers just seem so much more focused away from home.  I'm sure those numbers will even up a bit over time, but if they do make the playoffs, it's a good sign if they have to begin a series on the road.

Zack Greinke will take the bump on Thursday evening, as he looks to give the Dodgers a sweep.  Then it will be off to Philadelphia for three, where they get to avoid Cliff Lee, who just landed on the DL with an elbow strain.  Oh boy, another elbow injury to an elite pitcher.  Paging Tommy John...

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