Dodgers Take Advantage of Another Angels Pitching Collapse
It was a beautiful pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium honoring those who sacrificed their lives fighting for our country on this Memorial Day. There was a moment of silence and the giant flag that covered the outfield. The highlight was astronaut Buzz Aldrin throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
Of course with Aldrin here, we should have known this would have been a spaceman type of game, the Dodgers coming from behind to beat the Angels 8-7.
"It wasn't very pretty," manager Don Mattingly admitted.
It started with a comedy of errors for the Dodgers. After Mike Trout singled and Albert Pujols doubled, Mark Trumbo struck out. But a passed ball on catcher Ramon Hernandez allowed Trout to score. To make matters worse Hernandez overthrew Adrian Gonzalez at first base which allowed Trumbo to reach and Pujols to score.
The Dodgers had two more errors in the game: Gonzalez bobbled a sacrifice bunt by C.J. Wilson in the second inning and Luis Cruz made a throwing error on Erick Aybar's grounder to lead off the sixth inning. The three errors gave them a tie with the Washington Nationals for the most errors in the Majors, a dubious honor Mattingly is not proud of.
"It definitely bothers me," Mattingly said. "I don't like seeing it. One of the things we want to do is to play good defense."
Fortunately the other two errors didn't cost the Dodgers a run, but with the other troubles the Dodgers have a fielding percentage among the lowest in the league won't cut it.
That didn't make things any easier for starter Zack Greinke. He left the game after pitching to two batters in the fifth inning having given up 10 hits and six runs. Despite that pitching line he said that he felt fine out there.
"I made some mistakes, obviously, but overall I thought I did about as well as I could against a good team," Greinke said.
The only problem was when he left the game the Angels had the 6-2 lead with runners on first and second. Fortunately Matt Guerrier got out of the jam which paved the way for the Dodgers comeback.
By 2013 standards it was an epic comeback for the team. The most they had come back from was down three runs in Baltimore on April 21. And in the bottom of the fifth inning they started chipping away.
Making only his fourth start this month and first appearance since May 17, Luis Cruz got the rally started with a single off of Angels starter C.J. Wilson. Juan Uribe came in to pinch hit and followed up with a single. After Nick Punto grounded into a force play, Mark Ellis hit a two-run double. Matt Kemp struck out, the second of his golden sombrero night. Adrian Gonzalez singled in a run and Scott Van Slyke doubled him home.
After that walloping of Wilson the Dodgers had tied the game, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia saw enough of Wilson.
Really a bad time to have a bad game- felt like I threw too many strikes for them to hit. should have just walked gonzalez.— C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer) May 28, 2013
"We got big ones everywhere," Mattingly said about the big hits. "It seemed like all over the place guys were getting big hits."
The Dodgers took the lead in the sixth inning when Luis Cruz worked a one-out walk, his first non-intentional walk of the season. After Juan Uribe doubled, A.J. Ellis who went into the game in the top of the sixth inning hit a sacrifice fly to score Cruz.
For Cruz, he understood that this was probably his last opportuntity to lobby for playing time and stay on the team.
"I felt really good at the plate today," Cruz said. "I've been working everyday early and during the games.
"I was waiting for a chance again. I know they gave me a chance at the beginning, and I didn't have success. I've got to keep fighting. Hopefully I can do what I did today and keep playing hard everyday."
After the Angels tied the game in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers took the lead for good when Adrian Gonzalez scored on Jerry Hairston's single. Gonzalez went 4-for-4 with two doubles as he continued his torrid streak in this homestand (9-for-14, a .643 average).
"I'm just trying to stay within myself, not chase pitches out of the zone and trying to get a good pitch to hit," Gonzalez said.
After Greinke gave up the 10 hits, the Dodger bullpen limited the Angels to four hits in the subsequent five innings although one would come home to score. And while the Angels had compiled an eight-game streak against the likes of Kansas City and Seattle, the Dodgers were able to halt them in their tracks.
The Dodgers have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games, but there are signs of life. Powered by Gonzalez and Van Slyke, the Dodgers are starting to get extra base hits. The bullpen hasn't been completely atrocious although they are not great. So maybe there's something there?
A note by Elias Sports Bureau, the 11 combined doubles by the Dodgers and Angels set a Dodger Stadium record.