Dodgers Start the Climb Out of the Cellar
I really want to say the Dodgers have turned the corner.
For starters they beat the Giants 4-2 getting the three-game sweep, the first home sweep by the Dodgers since 2009. They got yet another dominant performance by starter Clayton Kershaw marred only by a Buster Posey two-run homer in the fourth inning that gave the Giants their first lead of the series.
The one thing that stuck Kershaw's craw was walking Marco Scutaro to lead off that fourth inning that was the prelude for the Posey bomb.
"You can't walk Scutaro leading off that inning especially after we go and get a run right there," Kershaw said. "Posey's going to hit homers &mdsah; that's what he does. It should have been a solo homer.
"If I could take that back, I would have been pretty happy with the night."
Kershaw was lifted in the ninth inning after giving up a leadoff single to Scutaro. "It was the right decision," Kershaw conceded fighting off that innate desire to battle Posey again. Kenley Jansen came in and gave up a single to Posey. However that was it as Jansen recorded his sixth save of the season.
Backing up Kershaw's efforts on the mounth, the offense started to resemble a big league offense.
With the Giants leading 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Dodgers four-through-seven hitters teed off against Giants starter Tim Lincecum. Hanley Ramirez singled, stole second, Andre Ethier singled, stole second, A.J. Ellis doubled and Juan Uribe singled. When Lincecum threw a wild pitch that scored Ellis for the third run of the inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled the plug on Lincecum.
For the second game in a row the Dodgers strung together a series of hits to knock out the starting pitcher. While Mattingly is still cautious about the offense, he'll take the results.
"It's getting to feel better," Mattingly said. "Even when they get the two [runs] there, early in the year it didn't feel that good when we got behind. Today it felt like Kersh is going out and throw zeroes and we're going to have a chance to get back in the game."
While the world's eyes are on Yasiel Puig, it's easy to overlook some of the contributions from other players. Sure Puig went 3-for-4, his sixth three-hit game in 22 games and his 13th multi-hit game.
But there is also Hanley Ramirez who went 2-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, run scored and an RBI. He extended his hitting streak to nine games batting .485 during the streak and has an RBI in six consecutive games.
Such eye popping numbers had Mattingly making wild comparisons.
"I'm watching him tonight, and I'm thinking about Manny," Mattingly said. "When you see him, you think like that. He's that good."
Hanley was flattered. "That's a good compliment. He was a top hitter in the game. That makes you want to keep working and staying at that level."
So I really do want to give in to this wave of good feeling. I want to declare the Dodgers are on their way up to try and compete for a playoff spot. But of course there needs to be perspective.
The Giants now have a 15-25 record since May 14, the worst in the Majors in that time span. Sure the Giants are defending world champs, but they've been playing closer to the Dodgers level as of late. Fortunately the Dodgers will face the Phillies who have also been pretty cold recently.
So who knows? Maybe the Dodgers will be able to make up ground in the division especially if the rest of the teams in the division comply and lose every game.