Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3 of the 4 Dodgers' all-stars strut their stuff

The American League used an early 3-0 lead against a pitcher from the St. Louis Cardinals to help lead them to a 5-3 win in the All-Star Game.  That's two straight for the AL, and also two straight times the National League manager chose to ignore Clayton Kershaw's eye-popping stats and go with someone else to start the game.

I could go on and on, but I'll just focus on the four Dodgers' representatives and break down their performances.  Which, by the way, were much better than Adam Wainwright's.  OK, that's it, I swear.

Clayton Kershaw - Down 3-2 in the second, Mike Matheny called on Kershaw to face the bottom three of the AL order.  He immediately got Adam Jones to pop to Aramis Ramirez in foul territory at third on two pitches.  Josh Donaldson was a little more of a battle, but an inside fastball was good for a swinging strike three.  Salvador Perez rolled a soft one to Ramirez at third, who made a great barehanded play for the quick throw and final out.

All in all, it was another scoreless inning for Kershaw, who is flawless in four ASG performances, all for an inning apiece.  It would have been cool to watch him pitch to Derek Jeter, who was on deck.  Maybe in the World Series?  Who knows.

Zack Greinke - Someone who actually outperformed Kershaw was Greinke, who had a couple of strikeouts in a scoreless fourth, keeping the game tied at three.  Jose Bautista led off and grounded easily to third on a slider.  A couple of power hitting Orioles came up next in Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones, and they both went down swinging on inside fastballs.

Greinke tied four other pitchers with a couple of K's, as no one worked more than an inning.  Craig Kimbrel shined the brightest by striking out the side in the seventh.

Dee Gordon - It was an early entry into the game for Gordon, as he pinch-ran for Chase Utley in the fourth after Utley was beaned on the arm from a Chris Sale fastball.  He didn't waste any time in leaving his mark, flying home to score from first on a Jonathan Lucroy double.  That temporarily tied the game at three.

He did get one at-bat, and nearly beat out a grounder to Jose Altuve in the sixth.  Altuve ranged to his right and made a great play on it, though.  Gordon showed his leather as well, robbing Michael Brantley of a base hit in the bottom half.  All in all, it was a good night.

Yasiel Puig - Then there's Puig, who definitely did not have a good night.  Or a good couple of nights for that matter.  After failing to hit a single home run in the Home Run Derby on Monday, Puig had three at-bats against Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, and Max Scherzer.  Guess how that went?  Strike three, strike three, strike three.  Ouch.  In the field, he did come close to robbing Mike Trout at the wall, but it was just out of his range as Trout went to third for a triple. 

I was glad to see him play five innings, as he appeared to be having a great time.  I just wish he could've had at least ONE moment from the two days.  There were people predicting him to be the MVP after his big fat zero in the Derby.  That obviously didn't happen.  It's not like he went in the box just hacking away, as he went to a full count twice and 2-2 in his first at-bat.  It just wasn't meant to be.

Bottom Line - The Dodgers have to be proud for how they played, even with Puig's hat trick at the plate.  Kershaw and Greinke were just awesome, as they combined for two perfect innings with three strikeouts.  No ball even reached the outfield, and they faced some power hitters like Bautista and Cruz.  I knew Kershaw would pitch, but wasn't so sure if Greinke would be on the list of pitchers being saved for extra innings.  Thankfully he wasn't, and he looked really good.

Someone else who should be proud is Gordon, who put on a wicked display of speed, then turned around a couple innings later and made a great play with his glove.  It's hard to imagine a more unlikely all-star selection coming into this season, but he showed he more than belonged.

And Puig?  Well, he'll be back.  He can only go up from here, right?  Right!

No comments: