Saturday, September 20, 2014

Role reversal day in Wrigley puts the Dodgers 3 1/2 up

If you were to be told coming into Friday afternoon's game in Wrigley Field that Clayton Kershaw would give up three runs in the first and A.J. Ellis would hit two home runs, how would you react?

Or better yet, after you pick yourself up off the floor from shock, what would do after?

Hopefully be very happy and enjoy it, because the Dodgers put it on the Cubs 14-5.  Over in San Diego, Tim Hudson struggled mightily again, and the Giants' offense could do no better in falling 5-0.  Add it all up, and the Dodgers are 3 1/2 up in the NL West, and the magic number is six.

With all the talk about Clayton Kershaw's historic season and MVP chances, I have to wonder if being spotted a six-run lead before he even took the mound might have been the worst thing possible.  And maybe it was, because he walked leadoff man Arismendy Alcantara.

Things didn't any better than there, as a scuffling Kershaw surrendered an RBI double to Anthony Rizzo, an RBI triple to Jorge Solar, and a sac-fly to Rafael Lopez to make it 6-3.

Much like Zack Greinke the day before, a high pitch count did in Kershaw, but he was at least able to get though five to qualify for the win.  He went scoreless over his final four innings, and did end up striking out nine.  His ERA stands at 1.80, and he's 20-3.

And fortunately for him, his streaky offense was on a peak, not a valley.

It was bombs away for the offense, as once they found their groove, they absolutely took off.  It all started in the first on a three-run tater by Matt Kemp, and then Ellis's two-run shot.

Ellis apparently was having fun, as he added his second two-run home run in the third.  His home run total coming into this game?  One.  I guess it's a good day when you literally double your home run output in one game.

The icing on the home run cake came from one Yasiel Puig, who certainly has been trying to find his power stroke for quite awhile now.  He hit one out on Tuesday to break a slump dating back to the last day in July, and in this one, he absolutely creamed a three-run homer to deep left, measured at 421 feet.  It's the kind of swing that reminds you just how ridiculous good he is.

This past week has certainly been a crazy ride for the Dodgers.  Starting last Friday in San Francisco, they've lost three games by the scores of 9-0, 10-4, and 16-2.  The flip side is that they've won five games, with three of those wins by scores of 17-0, 11-3, and 14-5.  I guess it all depends on what side of the bed they wake up on.

Any offensive surge is encouraging, but it's as equally as frustrating and scary when you see them lay a giant egg as well.  They look like the type of team that will win Game 1 of a playoff series 11-2, then turn around the next day and lose Game 2 10-1.  There's just no telling when they will show up.

For now, let's just hope they continue to pound on the lowly Cubs, as they've got the Giants at home for three starting Monday.  If they handle their business this weekend, then they'll be celebrating another NL West crown sometime at home next week.

And oh ya, go Padres!

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