Sunday, April 19, 2015

It must be good to be Don Mattingly right now

After watching the latest dominating Dodgers' win, you get the feeling that Don Mattingly can walk into the clubhouse before the game, scribble down any names he wants on the lineup card, then come away with a win.

That's how hot the Dodgers are right now.

Sunday afternoon was their seventh win a row, a 7-0 shellacking of the Rockies to run their record to 9-3.  Brandon McCarthy was fantastic, the bullpen shut the door the final three innings, and the offense used a bunch of bench players to get one extra-base hit after another.

Out were the names Yasiel Puig, Juan Uribe, Carl Crawford, and Yasmani Grandal.  It didn't matter.  The replacements of Andre Ethier (a walk and a run), Justin Turner (4-for-5 with three doubles and an RBI), Scott Van Slyke (3-for-4 with a two-run shot, two doubles, and three RBIs), and A.J. Ellis (two hits and a run) were more than enough to beat a dejected Rockies team.

Some regulars played, so it was about half of a normal lineup on a Lazy Sunday.  Jimmy Rollins was back at the leadoff spot and collected a single and walk.  Howie Kendrick hit a solo home run to dead center to continue his scorching start to 2015.  Joc Pederson also walloped a solo shot to make it back-to-back jacks with Van Slyke in the sixth, and three total in the inning.

The only guy to not get on base?  Wouldn't you know it... Adrian Gonzalez.  He had his chances with runners on, but went 0-for-5, with four of those at-bats coming with runners in scoring position.  That performance dropped his average to .469.  Yes, he DROPPED to just under .500, in case you needed another reminder just how huge he's been this year.

So yes, the offense was on fire, and as I pointed out in the post right before this, they're getting a little of everything from everyone.  Big home runs?  Check.  Extra-base hits with RISP?  Check.  Bunting runners over to scoring position?  Check.  Taking walks?  Check.  Check, check, and check.  It's all clicking right now.

Perhaps a little lost in all the hitting fun was the start by McCarthy, who went six innings of scoreless ball.  He stuck out six, walked two, and surrendered three hits.  By far, this was his best outing, lowering his ERA from 6.75 to 4.50.  His stuff was fluttering all over the place, and when he needed to dial it up, he did at around 95 mph.  Simply put, he had it all going on today.

With Hyun-Jin Ryu still out, McCarthy is the #3 starter right now, and he showed today what he can do.  His first two starts saw him getting a sore neck from watching one home run after another leave the yard (six total).  In this one, it was still a lot of pitches to get through six innings at 92, but he did what he needed to do to give his team a chance to win.  And that they did.

Now Donny can shift his focus to the Giants for three games starting on Tuesday.  To say the defending champions are a bit of a mess right now would be an understatement.  They lost again today to drop their record to 4-10, easily the worst in the NL West.  They do have Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner lined up to go in the first two, so maybe they're feeling good about that.

As for the Dodgers, they're feeling good about everything.  Just fill the out the lineup card and watch his team go to work.  That's the winning attitude Donny has about his team right now.

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