Friday, July 4, 2014

Dodgers buck the trend with a late, close win

Consider the following stats on the Dodgers blurted out by Charlie Steiner in the eighth inning of Thursday night's game:

12-13 in one-run games
3-8 in extra inning games
Outscored 83-58 from the eighth inning on

The good news?  Each of those stats just improved a little bit thanks to a 3-2 win over the Rockies.  And with the Cardinals waxing the Giants 7-2, first place in the NL West belongs to LA.

It's never easy to win in the dreaded Coors Field, but Zack Greinke definitely brought his "A" game with two runs (one earned) in eight innings, striking out eight.  His 11 wins ties him for tops in the NL with Adam Wainwright, and hopefully secures him a spot in the All-Star Game.

Of course, it wouldn't be a close Dodger game without some late drama.  Greinke took the hill in the bottom of the eighth up 2-1.  Sure enough, Charlie Blackmon's leadoff single soon led to an RBI triple from Justin Morneau, tying it all up.  Greinke did get Troy Tulowitzki to fly out, and struck out Nolan Arenado to end the inning.

All of the stats I listed at the top would suggest that the Rockies would soon get the comeback win.  Plus, throw in Wednesday afternoon's debacle against the Indians, and it's easy to see why there was some serious doubt.

If there's one thing the Dodgers could feel good about, though, was their road record.  Tonight's win improves them to 27-16, best in all of baseball.  So when Matt Kemp took a leadoff walk and Juan Uribe's scorching RBI single scored him an out later, the Dodgers were back in business and feeling good at 3-2.

Kenley Jansen survived a scare for the final out, as Ryan Wheeler's deep fly ball to right was gloved on the warning track by Yasiel Puig.

This was a good win for a couple of reasons.  One, it got the Dodgers back to first place, as they took advantage of another off day from the Giants.  Two, a late blown lead and loss would have been a carbon copy of the day before, and that's tough to swallow.  I'm glad they found a way to win anyway.

Other thoughts from the game:

* Puig didn't exactly have a day to remember.  He committed his first error of the season when he let a ball bounce by him near center.  Then he went 0-for-4 in the #2 hole, dropping his average to .309.  He's had a serious power outage, as he hasn't homered since May 28.  He had eight in May, and none last month.  Yet, the Dodgers are winning anyway, which shows they're not the one man team they were early in the season.

* Like I said before, Greinke was really good, and has clearly gotten over his rough start in Kansas City last week.  Since then, he's given up two runs in 15 innings, striking out 18, and lowering his ERA from 2.89 to 2.66.  Not to shabby for a #2 pitcher.

* It's good to see Hanley Ramirez did not have to go on the DL, as he hit third and started at short, walking a couple of times.  With that said, his defense is so far and away the worst at his position, it's a pretty big problem.  Any play that's even remotely difficult to make, he won't.  It's pretty hard to watch.

* Thankfully, Erisbel Arruebarrena has been recalled, and he's super smooth at short.  I'm double thankful that Carlos Triunfel has been sent back to Triple-A, as he was just horrific in Wednesday's game.

* Uribe had his best game since coming off of the DL in late June, going 3-for-4 with the game winning RBI single.  He's valuable enough with his glove at third, and now that he's hitting the ball hard again, he's even better.

Clayton Kershaw gets another start against the Rockies on July 4th.  Back on June 8, he won a rain shortened, six inning game 6-1.  Then 10 days later, I think something historic happened in Dodger Stadium.  I kind of forget, though.  Oh well, he'll just have to make more history on Friday.

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