The Bearable Lightness of Being a Dodger
Milan Kundera notably bemoaned the unbearable lightness of being. To the contrary, the Dodgers have been dealing with the unbearable weight of their being. The injuries and the offensive ineptitude have been evident the last couple of weeks what with their 56 of 57 scoreless innings — the Dodgers yoke to bear. On Sunday the Dodgers finally came through with a 8-3 victory over the New York Mets, the exhilarating lightness entering their being.
"Lots of positive energy in there," Justin Sellers told waiting reporters in the hallway outside the clubhouse entrance as he made his exit after the game.
The postgame music was back. The smiles were back. The burden of the last week seemed to be lifted off of the players allowing them to finally breath and relax for a second.
"You get relief because you know you've got a little bit of breathing room," Dodger manager Don Mattingly said. "It's just a good feeling to get the win."
For a while it seemed the lightness would be unbearable yet again for the Dodgers. Their lightest player, shortstop Dee Gordon, made two crucial errors in the third inning that seemed to spell the Dodgers doom.
With runners on first and second and one out, David Wright hit a grounder to second baseman Adam Kennedy for what seemed like a sure double play. Kennedy made the flip to Gordon whose throw to first baseman James Loney sailed into the Mets dugout. Opposing starter Dillon Gee scored for the 2-1 lead.
Then on Scott Hairston's grounder, Gordon's throw got away on Loney which scored Wright for the 3-1 lead.
"I can't say it," Gordon said when asked what he was thinking after the second error.
The way things have been going for the Dodgers, it seemed like the Mets would get their first four-game sweep of the Dodgers in franchise history.
Mattingly admitted that those thoughts crept in at that moment. "But you've got to fight it," he said. "You've got to keep fighting. You've got to keep battling. You can't allow it to happen."
And there was redemption.
Gordon got his in the fifth inning. After Juan Uribe led the Dodgers fifth with a walk, Justin Turner dropped the feed from third baseman David Wright on what should have been a double play on Tony Gwynn, Jr.'s grounder.
Gordon's redemption came as his grounder to first base ate up Scott Hairston which allowed Uribe to score. Ellis' sacrifice fly tied the game.
Gordon also had three steals in the game giving him a Major League-high 28 stolen bases for the season.
"I'm just trying to get into scoring position," Gordon said.
James Loney also needed redemption coming into the game on an 0-for-25 streak at the plate. In the sixth inning with runners on second and third, Loney grounded out to second base allowing Juan Rivera to score the go-ahead run. It was the Dodgers first lead since leading 2-0 over the Angels in the second inning last Sunday.
Loney broke his 0-for-28 hitless streak in the next inning, an RBI double that scored Rivera that gave the Dodgers the 8-3 lead in that four-run seventh.
The anchor for the Dodgers was starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw who earlier in the day was named by National League manager Tony La Russa to his second All-Star game.
"I feel really honored to get to go again," Kersahw said. "I'm looking forward to it. Very excited about it."
Kershaw pitched seven innings giving up one earned run to get his sixth win of the season. It seemed right that it was Kershaw who pitched the game the Dodgers finally broke that seven-game slump.
It also seemed appropriate that the magic of Hello Kitty and her bobblehead, which helped bring a sellout crowd of 55,359 to the Stadium, was there for the win. I suppose if Keroppi was also on hand like he was supposed to, the game wouldn't have had a total of six unearned runs on five errors. But that didn't bother Mattingly any.
"We were trying to get a win any way we can," he said.
So they did it and finally got the win. The question is can they sustain it. They'll have to prove it against the Cincinnati Reds the next three nights.
But for now the Dodgers are floating on air.