Saturday, September 13, 2014

After Friday's clunker, Dodgers need a big weekend


That's really all I can say about Friday night in San Francisco.  The Dodgers were pathetic and got rolled 9-0, cutting their lead in the NL West down to a single game.

There's a lot that went wrong, so I'll try to break it down right now:

* Hyun-Jin Ryu lasted all of one inning, getting shelled for four runs before exiting with a left shoulder injury.  It's the same type of injury that shelved him for most of May.  He could barely reach 90 mph.  It was basically batting practice for the Giants.

* Both long relievers, Carlos Frias and Kevin Correia, were awful as well, giving up five runs combined in five innings.  Not exactly the type of stability you're looking for from your bullpen while trying to fight back.

* Dee Gordon and Carl Crawford sat against the nasty lefty Madison Bumgarner... and it made no difference whatsoever.  Their replacements were Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke, who went 0-for-6.  Van Slyke struck out all three times, and is basically useless these days.

* Yasiel Puig hit leadoff and went 1-for-3 with a walk.  Not bad, but not all that great either.

* The offense went 0-for-6 with RISP.

* You'll be shocked to know they left the bases loaded... AGAIN.  They are now 17-for-104 in those situations for a .163 average.  That is just completely embarrassing.

* A.J. Ellis continues to get all sorts of playing time, and is hitting .185.  Atrocious.

So ya, a lot went wrong.

All the Dodgers can really do is get back up, brush themselves off, and move onto the Saturday and Sunday games.  And good for them, they have Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw lined up to go.

First up is Greinke, who dominated the Giants in AT&T Park back in July.  He struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings, giving the Dodgers an 8-1 victory.  His ERA is a very good 2.73, but one area he's struggled with lately is high pitch counts.  The Dodgers need him to keep that under control and pitch deep like last time, because as you can see, the bullpen isn't the strongest group to turn to.

Sunday will see Kershaw take the hill, and with Giancarlo Stanton's recent injury on a horrific-looking beaning in the face, his MVP chances look to be even stronger.  What better way to get that hype up even more with a big start in San Francisco.

Like Greinke, Kershaw was simply sensational back in that July series, pitching a complete game shutout with seven K's.  That bumped his ERA down to 1.73 at the time, and now it's 1.67.  Ho hum, ho hum... just Kershaw being Kershaw.

No matter how good these two are, it's still very difficult to count on 16 scoreless innings, so the offense has to give some sort of support.  In other words, they can't get three-hit and look completely overmatched like they did Friday night.  I don't care how good Greinke and Kershaw are - if the bats don't do SOMETHING, it won't matter.

The Dodgers can go one of two ways.  They can roll over and play dead like Friday, get swept, and be down a game in the NL West by the time Sunday night rolls around.  Or, they can get big starts from their Big Two, get some of the hibernating bats to actually wake up, and get a three-game lead back in the West.  It could happen.

Now the Dodgers just need to MAKE it happen.  Stay tuned and see.

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