No Extra Base Hits? The Dodgers Hit Five in Victory.
It really does feel nice when the world just falls perfectly in place. I came to the park on Saturday wanting to address the Dodgers chronic inability to get an extra-base hit as a big reason why they can't score runs.
What do we see? The Dodgers score five runs in their 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals thanks in large part to extra-base hits.
"Extra bases are always huge," Gonzalez said after coming a triple short of the cycle. "Those are momentum changers. The more we can get them, the better we're going to be."
First inning: Nick Punto led off with a walk, Adrian Gonzalez doubled him home to tie the game.
Third inning: Punto led off with a double and was driven home by Gonzalez's single.
Fifth inning: Gonzalez led off with a solo home run.
Sixth Inning: Carl Crawford got on base thanks to a fielding error by second baseman Matt Carpenter, Mark Ellis drove him home with a double.
Eighth Inning: Juan Uribe doubled home Mark Ellis.
To summarize the Dodgers got four doubles and a home run to augment the five singles. When asked if there was anything the team could build off of to duplicate their approach at the plate to get these hits, Gonzalez deadpanned, "If there was, we would like to know."
Ah, baseball is a funny game.
Perhaps not so funny were names that were not seen above: Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. They combined to go 0-for-7 with two walks and two strikeouts hitting in the middle of the order. Perhaps most surprising was hearing them being booed by the 49,368.
"You don't really hear that here," manager Don Mattingly said expressing his surprise. "I've just watched since I've been out here and seen All Stars really struggle and still getting golf claps.
"I think that maybe a part of the frustration of the fans with the high expectations."
Both Kemp and Ethier were stoic about it. "It is what it is," Kemp said. "That's how they feel. Let them do what they want to do."
"It's disappointing but understandable," Ethier said. "We know what the expectations are that they have of ourselves, and rightfully so. I guess it's a compliment to know what they expect out of us."
Perhaps the rock bottom happened when Kemp was double-switched out with two outs in the seventh inning when Kenley Jansen came in to pitch. Since May 17, Kemp has been batting .161 (5-for-31) with 15 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Kemp made his displeasure known, and although it appeared he was shouting at Mattingly he maintained he was merely shouting.
"I was just frustrated," Kemp said. "It was a bad day for me. I didn't really do much to help the team win."
Mattingly explained that since he wanted Jansen to also pitch the eighth inning, his best option was to switch out Kemp.
"It was a baseball move as much as anything," Mattingly said. "Guys don't like coming out. I understand that. But, again, it's a baseball move."
Mattingly went as far as to say that even if Kemp was playing at an All Star level he would have made the same move. "I have no choice."
For Kemp, he was just glad that the team got the win. "Anytime you win the game, it's not tough."
Ted Lilly was tough. Making only his third start of the season after making only eight starts last season, he looked no worse for the wear retiring 14 consecutive batters before walking his final batter Matt Holliday with one out in the sixth inning.
"I was hoping to go a little longer than that," Lilly rued despite only giving up two runs, one of which were earned. He talked about his timing being a little off and having a lot of luck. But he eventually did concede, "It's the best I've thrown the ball in a long time."
"If we got five today we were going to be very happy," Mattingly said. "I gave him a chance to get out of that inning. But once we get anybody on I know I can't allow him to try and get through that big part of the order again."
Dee Gordon's finger cramped up in the third inning. "It's all good," he told me. "It just cramped up. It was weird." He singled in the fourth inning.
Clayton Kershaw will get the start for the Dodgers tomorrow afternoon. That means the possibility of the Dodgers winning a series against the team with the best record in the National League is pretty good. Think about that.
So perhaps with my great mojo enveloping this team, perhaps I should have questions about Kemp and Ethier to Mattingly tomorrow?