Despite a Loss to the Red Sox, the Dodgers Still Believe
"They believe it. That's all that matters."
The words that Don Mattingly uttered this morning are probably the scariest words for the rest of baseball. After the Dodgers 4-2 loss to the Red Sox today, the Dodgers are 19-4 in the month of August, 29-6 since the All Star Break and 46-11 since that June 22 turning point.
"I think these guys believe they're really good," Mattingly said.
It's hard to deny that statement with the results the Dodgers have compiled.
That's why when the Dodgers trailed 4-0 in the first inning, there was always hope the Dodgers would make one of their magical comebacks. It wasn't until Jerry Hairston grounded out to second to end the game that the hope faded. Perhaps if Vin Scully were there to call the game, things would be different.
Nonetheless, Ryu Hyun-Jin had a rocky first inning, hitting Shane Victorino with a pitch, consecutive singles to Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli before Johnny Gomes' three-run homer capped things off. Ryu tends to get hit around in the first inning with opponents batting .281, the worst of any inning he pitches.
"I try to find the strike zone as fast as I can," Ryu explain. "That's why I tend to pound the strike zone a lot and hitters may take advantage of it."
Regardless Ryu found his rhythm going five innings while limiting the damage to the four runs.
Not helping the Dodgers cause were the three line drive double plays. It started right away against Jon Lester with Puig caught up twice: Adrian Gonzalez foul line drive to first base with Puig caught sleeping at first and in the sixth inning a line drive to right by Mark Ellis with Puig running. The third double play came in the seventh inning when Juan Uribe hitting a sharp line drive to short with Ramirez caught leaning.
As bad as those were, none could be any worse than Jacoby Ellsbury who forgot how many outs there were. His grounder to first got Xander Bogaerts at second for the second out. Ellsbury took off his helmet and headed back to the dugout.
"I think he game himself up," Gonzalez said.
Ramirez alertly ran from second base to just outside the Red Sox dugout to tag Ellsbury out for the third out.
"He must have thought there were three outs," Gonzalez said.
The Dodgers started their comeback in the eighth inning, a double by Gonzalez off of Craig Breslow scoring the two runs. But that was it.
"If we got there earlier, we give ourselves a better chance," Mattingly said.