Bottom's Up for the Dodgers
So the Dodgers lost in Houston 12-0 Sunday afternoon. Big whoop. They dusted off their shoulders, hopped on a plane to Los Angeles and came back to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 on the backs of their 6-7-8 hitters.
"We got walked off twice in Milwaukee and we win three in a row," Manager Don Mattingly said before the game. "I'm not worried about this club responding. These guys play everyday. You can't let one loss bother you."
It certainly didn't bother the bottom of the lineup Monday night. James Loney, Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis combined to go 7-for-9 with five RBI and four runs scored showing that for one night, at least, they couldn't be stopped. They couldn't only be contained.
"Coming home it wipes everything clean that happened the day before, especially a game like that, it's easy to put behind you," Ellis said.
The hitters that came into the game batting .217, .211 and .222 respectively and having less hits (26) than Matt Kemp (27) did all of the heavy lifting for the Dodgers.
"Andre [Ethier] and Matt have been carrying us all year," Ellis said. "It's time for us to step up a little bit."
Most notably was Uribe who went 4-for-4 with three RBI. It was his fifth time recording four hits in a game, his first since Sept. 8, 2007.
"He'd been swinging the bat okay for the season," Mattingly said. "It's good to see him get some hits here at the stadium. A lot of good things happened tonight, but it felt like it was a big night for Juan."
Loney led the bottom of the second inning with a first-pitch double. Uribe drove him home with an RBI single, and Ellis drove Uribe home with a single of his own.
The triumverate also led off the fourth inning with singles sending Loney home. A sacrifice fly by Dee Gordon allowed Uribe to score gave the Dodgers the 5-1 lead.
But Uribe wasn't done yet. After Livan Hernandez, who came out of the bullpen in the fourth inning, intentionally walked Loney to load the bases, Uribe made him pay popping a single to right field that scored two.
All of that helped Dodgers' starter Chris Capuano get his second win of the season. Notably he was more aggressive with hitter throwing 62% of his 106 pitches for strikes.
"I knew our bullpen got worked yesterday, and around the fifth inning Donnie told me to be more aggressive," Capuano said. "I was trying to use the fastball and attacking a little more. That's how I should be pitching anyhow."
Despite getting into some trouble with baserunners and allowing a solo homer to David Ross in the top of the second, this aggression later in his outing allowed him to stay through seven innings and giving the tired arms in the bullpen a bit of rest.
"It was big for us," Mattingly commented. "We used some guys yesterday which shortened us up a little bit in the pen."
Not everything came up roses for the Dodgers. The most bizarre play came in the fifth inning. After Matt Kemp led off the inning with an infield single, Andre Ethier hit a single to left field with Kemp running. Kemp's eyes being too big for his appetite, the Braves cut him off at the plate as he dove midair trying to avoid the tag. Alertly Braves' catcher Brian McCann saw Ethier straying too far away from first base and caught him for the second out. If you're scoring that at home it was a single, double play 7-6-2-3.
"It wasn't the right time," Mattingly said about Kemp's overaggressive baserunning. "He knows. There's a time for that."
Not that all was bad for the bashing duo. Atlanta Braves' starter Jair Jurrjens pitched Matt Kemp very carefully in the first inning with Dee Gordon on third base and one out — a bit too carefully since Kemp walked.
What Kemp doesn't eat Andre Ethier happily feasts on, and Ethier hit a bloop single to bring home Gordon for the game's first run.
At 13-4 the Dodgers have the best record in the National League and are tied with the Texas Rangers overall in the Majors. This is the best start for the team since 1983, and their 7-0 start at home is the best since 2009 when they opened with 13 straight home wins. Everything is pretty rosy in the Dodger clubhouse.
"We feel good," Ellis said. "We have a lot of confidence right now. The biggest things is we're getting a lot of great starting pitching. And when that's the case you're going to be in the games. We've been getting some timely hitting, and we've got a dangerous lineup that's starting to click right now.
"It's fun coming to the ballpark everyday."
LA Angels at Tampa Bay Rays. 4:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
Atlanta Braves at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. KCAL9, AM 570 KLAC.
LA Clippers at Atlanta Hawks. 4:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.