Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dodgers need Uribe more than ever

The Dodgers are in the midst of a rough stretch, with a very tough schedule against good teams and injuries on the pitching staff mounting.  Even the great Clayton Kershaw was roughed up a bit on Tuesday night against the Angels.

That's where Juan Uribe stepped in and stepped up, as his three-run homer in the second soon led to a single and game-winning run in the ninth, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 walk-off win over the Angels.

Then it became obvious to me - if the Dodgers want to survive this hard stretch in the schedule in which the next 12 games are against contending teams, they need someone like Uribe to play well.  And by "play well," I mean have nights where he's the hero just like Tuesday.

We all know the Dodgers' troubles - poor back end of the rotation, lack of good options in the bullpen, inconsistent offense.  So when you look at the box score and see Uribe's line of 2-for-4 with two runs, three RBIs, and a home run, you know they have a chance of winning anyway.  Take away his night, and it's another easy win for the Halos.

Uribe is capable of breaking out and having big nights.  Remember last season on July 5 when he hit a double, triple, and homer against the Giants for seven RBIs?  That was a big win that gave the Dodgers a two-game lead over their rivals.  Of course, we can't forget his game-winning homer to clinch the NLDS against the Braves.

Through it all, on good nights at the plate or bad, he's always bringing it at the hot corner with the glove.  I still feel that he was robbed of a Gold Glove last year, so maybe this year he gets his just due.  You never know with the voting on that damn award, so we'll see.

Tuesday night definitely made me appreciate what Uribe brings each game even more.  I'm not sure many people realize he's hitting .300, as he's hitting .313 since the All-Star break.  Those are numbers the Dodgers need, as it would be great to count on his consistency on a team surrounded by so much uncertainty.

Other thoughts from the game:

* Things didn't look so hot at first, but it was a tale of two Kershaws as the game progressed.  Fortunately for the Dodgers, he was unhittable in innings 4-7, making up for giving up three runs and being hit hard through three.  Overall, he finished at seven innings, seven hits, three runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts.  He'll take that.

* Then there's Brian Wilson, who might be among the game's worst setup men.  Albert Pujols tied the game in the eighth with a towering solo shot.  Granted, Pujols has done that to a lot of people, but it was predictable nonetheless.  Wilson's ERA is up to 5.05, and there's really no reason to keep running him out there in the setup role.  Enough already!

* Dee Gordon bounced back from a tough night at the plate on Monday by getting two hits, including a double.  He also made a fantastic play at second, scooping a low throw from Kershaw and flipping to first from his knees for a double play in the first.  His defense at second continues to be excellent.

* Let's also show some love to Matt Kemp, who made the most of his one single in the sixth.  He then stole second, beat out Mike Trout's throw to third on the overthrow, and came home on Scott Van Slyke's sac-fly RBI.  I don't think we're used to seeing him make noise with his legs anymore, so that was a great sign.

* Also was great to see Van Slyke in left, and not Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier.  Anyone is better than those two bums.

* Yes, I know Ethier was at the plate when Uribe scored the winning run, but his little dribbler to third pretty much summed out how little he has left to give at the plate.  It's kind of sad to watch.

Dan Haren gets the start tonight, as the series shifts to Anaheim for two.  It's probably a good thing the Dodgers were able to find a way to win this one, as Haren's stock has just plummeted.  This might not be pretty...

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