Monday, June 22, 2015

If you're going to break out of a slump, then do it BIG

That's exactly what the Dodgers did on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, pounding Tim Lincecum into his earliest submission ever, and getting a rare win over the Giants 10-2.

So basically, the whole country got to see the Dodgers at their best.  Nevermind that they could barely scrap together more than a run or two for the better part of June; on Sunday night, they looked terrific.

Maybe the Dodgers are a very good "mistake" hitting team, meaning that they take full advantage of the opposing pitcher's flubs.  Such was the case on Sunday, as Lincecum spun one lousy curveball after another, and the Dodgers did not miss.

It all started in the first inning when Justin Turner scored on a wild pitch.  I'm talking a pitch that was so wild, catcher Andrew Susac stood absolutely no chance of snagging a ball thrown clear over his head.

The second was when the most damage occurred.  Yasmani Grandal did something a lot of other lefties should do - he bunted against the shift, and easily made it to first.  Jimmy Rollins followed with a single, and both men advanced on Brett Anderson's sacrifice bunt.

That's when the floodgates opened, as Yasiel Puig put together an excellent at-bat that ended with a two-run single up the middle.  After Joc Pederson scored one on a double and Turner gathered an RBI single, Lincecum exited for the shortest start in his career.

Up 5-0, it was time to have some fun, and the Dodgers followed with four solo homers: two by Grandal, and one apiece from Adrian Gonzalez and Turner.  They were feeling that good, and it showed.

I'm not much of a Curt Schilling fan (he's a glory hog for the most part), but one thing I completely agreed with was his analysis of getting a big win on getaway day.  The Dodgers are off to Wrigley Field for four starting Monday, so with a late-night flight after the Giants game, they had to be feeling really good.  Couple that with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke going the first two games, and they feel even better.

What does all of this mean?  Well, most importantly, they increased their lead over the Giants in the NL West to 1 1/2 games.  No matter how pitiful they've looked for much of June, the bottom line is that they're in first.

It also means that maybe they've gathered some momentum for a 10-game road trip, starting with a Cubs team that is seven games over .500, yet seven games in back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.  That is one tough division.

Finally, it hopefully means their bats have woken up again, and they're ready to improve on their lousy 12-18 road record.  I don't expect them to be 22-18 by the time they're done playing the Cubs, Marlins, and Diamondbacks.  I would hope they'd at least split them, if not picking up six wins.  Considering Kershaw and Greinke each go twice, I think that's a realistic goal to have.

The 10-game roadie is followed up by 10 straight at home to finish the break, and that's when the schedule gets very favorable.  They play the two worst teams in baseball in the Phillies and Brewers, and start with the Mets for three.  Not a bad way to enter the All-Star break, right?

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