Thursday, May 1, 2014

Win #10,000 showcases the good and bad of the Dodgers

The Dodgers would have loved to have done this at home, but alas, it took until Wednesday night in Minnesota for a franchise landmark to be set.  Behind Zack Greinke's powerful pitching, the Dodgers beat the Twins 6-4, giving them win #10,000.  Which is pretty sweet, of course.

Coming off a flat 4-6 homestand, an off day on Monday, and a rainout on Tuesday, you can bet they were ready to go after sitting around so much.  And since Minnesota is really, really cold compared to comfy LA.

By the time this one was in the books, a little over three-and-a-half hours later, it was a microcosm for how this young season has gone so far.  Let's take a look:

The Good:
* Excellent starting pitching, this time by Greinke.  He tossed six innings, giving up only one unearned run and gathering seven strikeouts.  He actually wasn't as sharp as he normally is, but the Twins couldn't cash in on him.

* Runs scored in bunches.  The third inning brought back-to-back RBI singles by Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez.  Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Andre Ethier delivered a two-out RBI double, and Juan Uribe scored two on a single to make it 5-1.

* Kenley Jansen closed the door for his 10th save, and sixth straight.  Six appearances ago, his ERA stood at 5.00, and now it's down to 3.14. 

The Bad:
* Shaky relief pitching.  After Greinke left in the seventh with 110 pitches thrown, J.P. Howell came in and let a couple runners reach.  Chris Withrow and Brian Wilson did very well after that, but the returning Paco Rodriguez got hit around for three runs in the ninth before Jansen had to put out the fire.  Jansen, by the way, has needed to do that way too much already this season.

* Not cashing in with runners on.  It happened more tonight, but early in the game, there were chances for more.  They left 11 on base, but thankfully scored five of their six runs with two outs to prevent it from looking worse.

* Bad defense.  There weren't any errors this game, but Greinke's unearned run was because of a passed ball from Drew Butera in the second.  The Dodgers have the second most errors in baseball at 28.

I will say that maybe you can't blame the Dodgers too much for being a little off since they were really cold and haven't played since Sunday.  But I did think it was interesting how the little things that went on in this game reflected their overall season pretty well.

On Thursday, the Dodgers and Twins will play two as part of a day-night doubleheader.  Dan Haren gets the ball in the first game.  Red Patterson will get called up as the "26th man" to start the night game.

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